A superb ton by Himachal Pradesh’s Nikhil Gangta (136) and Dhawal Kulkarni’s dismissal of India Red captain Abhinav Mukund put India Blue in the driver’s seat on the second day of the Duleep Trophy final at NPR College ground on Wednesday.
India Blue piled up a huge score of 541 in the first innings and reduced India Red to 27 for 1 at stumps as Kulkarni removed the left-handed Mukund (7) with an inswinging delivery as the Tamil Nadu batsman’s troubles continued.
Resuming at 260 for 5, India Blue lost the talented Ricky Bhui at 284 when he was bowled by Ishan Porel for 60.
Gangta and Swapnil Singh came together for a fruitful 153-run partnership for the seventh wicket as the Red bowlers found the going tough.
The right-handed Gangta was in good form and he was not afraid to loft the ball.
He reached his fifty (in 101 balls) with a six off B Sandeep and increased the pace of scoring subsequently.
Watchful defence was mixed with attacking shots as Gangta kept the scoreboard ticking.
Swapnil too was unafraid to play the ariel shots and his knock of 60 included nine fours and two sixes.
The partnership was broken when leg-spinner Mihir Hirwani had Swapnil caught of a leading edge by Sandeep.
India Red’s miseries didn’t end there as Gangta and Saurabh Kumar (36, 4X4, 1X6) added 70 runs for the eighth wicket, before the latter became Hirwani’s third victim.
Gangta was the ninth wicket to fall when the persevering Parvez Rasool (4 for 150 in 53.3 overs) had him caught by Abhinav Mukund.
Rasool finished things off by dismissing Jaydev Undakat (24, 19 balls, 3X4, 1X6).
After a slow first session, India Blue got things going as the opposition bowlers struggled to get any purchase with the pink ball.
In response, India Red suffered an early setback as Mukund fell after hitting a boundary.
Sanjay Ramaswamy (9 batting) and B Sandeep (11 batting) saw through the team to stumps without any further damage.
Brief scores: India Blue 541 all out in 167.3 overs (N R Gangta 136, Anmolpreet Singh 96, Swapnil Singh 69, Parvez Rasool 4 for 150, Mihir Hirwani 3 for 190) vs India Red 27 for 1 in 10 overs.