Yuvraj Singh shrugged off rustiness as he hammered Madhya Pradesh to submission with a superb knock of unbeaten 164 as Punjab posted a record 347 for 3 on the first day on a track helpful for the seamers in a Ranji Trophy encounter in Lahli.
Yuvraj, who is out of favour as far as national team is concerned, showed that he is still a force to reckon with as his 25th first-class hundred was studded with 24 boundaries and he faced 241 balls in all. His century definitely is the highlight among all the matches of the Senior National Championship that are being held across the country.
Punjab’s total, which was also propped by India discard Gurkeerat Mann’s undefeated 101 is the highest on a first day at Lahli surpassing Haryana’s 339/7 against Rajasthan during last edition of the tournament.
Yuvraj’s innings came under pressure as he was at the crease with Punjab down at 15 for 2 losing Manan Vohra (2) and Uday Kaul (6).
He added 180 runs for third wicket with opener Jiwanjot Singh (61, 172 ball), who dropped anchor at one end with the stylish left-hander taking on an attack led by Iswar Pandey (2/95).
He added another 152 runs for the unnroken fourth wicket stand with Gurkeerat whose 102 ball innings had 16 fours and a six. In this partnership, Gurkeerat was the one who attacked as spinners Ankit Sharma and MS Raghav were in operation.
Yuvraj’s innings was all the more praiseworthy as Tamil Nadu were shot out for less than 100 in the first match of the season while Mumbai lost 8 wickets while achieving a paltry winning target of 97.
While the pitch was a different one but the conditions in Lahli has always been challenging for the batsmen and Yuvraj showed why MSK Prasad and his colleagues cannot ignore his claim for yet another comeback atleast in the shorter formats.
For Madhya Pradesh, their three medium pacers Pandey (2/95 in 27 overs), Gaurav Yadav (1/78 in 24 overs) and Chandrakant Sakhure (0/79 in 19 overs) bowled 70 overs amongst themselves but Yuvraj was equal to the task as he played both cuts and pulls with aplomb.
Brief Scores: Punjab 347/3 in 89 overs (Yuvraj Singh 164 no, Gurkeerat Singh 101 batting, Jiwanjot Singh 61, Ishwar Pandey 2/95) vs Madhya Pardesh
Mumbai restrict Baroda to 286/9 on Day 1
Mumbai bowlers put up an impressive show as they restricted Baroda to 286 for 9 on the first day of a Ranji Trophy group league encounter in New Delhi.
Save wicketkeeper-batsman Pinal Shah, who hit a gutsy 66 off 125 balls (10×4), none of the Baroda batsmen showed enough patience to stay at the wicket despite some of them playing enough balls to get set.
Veteran India discard Yusuf Pathan, who smashed his way to 41 off only 28 balls with eight fours didn’t use discretion as he was cleaned up by medium pacer Tushar Deshpande.
The situation demanded patience from the senior Pathan but he decided to attack and it was only partially successful.
Similarly, opener Aditya Waghmode (39, 122 balls) and IPL star Deepak Hooda (46 off 88 balls) did all the hardwork during the first two hours only to throw it away after getting set.
The pitch at the Model Sports Complex in Palam has been a perennially sluggish one where strokeplay is difficult. Left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil (3/70 in 16 overs) was punished by Pathan but came back well to get three quick wickets in the end.
India’s Test specialist Shardul Thakur got 2/77 bout bowled a lot of boundary balls during the 22 overs.
Brief Scores: Baroda 286/9 (Pinal Shah 66, Deepak Hooda 46, Yusuf Pathan 41, Vijay Gohil 3/70, Shardul Thakur 2/77) vs Mumbai.
Tamil Nadu batsmen falter yet again as Railways take control
Tamil Nadu’s batting woes continued as an unfancied Railways seam attack skittled them for a lowly 121 before finishing the day at 87 for three in a group league encounter of the Ranji Trophy in Bilaspur.
Former Punjab seamer Deepak Bansal (4/48) and Rajasthan medium pacer Manjeet Singh (3/31) wreaked havoc as Tamil Nadu did a shade better at the picturesque ground located at a high altitude.
After being decimated for 87 in the first innings against Mumbai in the lung opener, the Tamil Nadu batsmen failed yet again with only seasoned Abhinav Mukund (22) crossing the 20-run mark among the top-order.
Tamil Nadu were in danger of being bowled out for less than 100 as they were tottering at 84 for 8 but Malolan Rangarajan (36) off 50 balls hit some lusty blows to take the team total past 100-run mark.
Brief Scores: Tamil Nadu 121 in 42.2 overs (Malolan Rangarajan 36, Abhinav Mukund 22, Deepak Bansal 4/48, Manjeet Singh 3/31). Railways 87/3 (Mrunal Devdhar 47, K Vignesh 1/8).