Lights spoil 'pink' show

Lights spoil 'pink' show

Sandeep shines for India Green as floodlight failure delays play

Lights spoil 'pink' show

The pink ball with its black seam looked out of place amidst the men in traditional white cricket flannels. It took some time to warm-up to the experiment during the daytime, but under the floodlights things began to settle down a bit. The endeavor did attract a few hundreds to the newly constructed Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex, but sadly couldn’t lift the quality of cricket.

Unfortunately, the pink ball’s debut on the Indian domestic circuit was marred by opening day glitches with floodlights failing twice to cause an hour and 17 minutes delay.

The Duleep Trophy contest between India Red and India Green had little to excite spectators, who largely milled around in the hunt of their favourite stars on Tuesday. Red, led by Yuvraj Singh, folded in for mere 161 runs in 48.2 overs in their first innings, with Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund (77, 116b, 12x4) standing out with his doughty knock. For Green, their seamers Sandeep Sharma (4/62) and Ankit Rajpoot (2/16), and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (3/19) kept the Red batsmen in a bind.

While tall Rajpoot extracted good bounce from the track, Sandeep handled the pink kookaburra ball with gumption, making it move around. Still, there was no prodigious swing on offer, as witnessed in the Adelaide day-night Test. The grass spread, however, was there both in the outfield and on the pitch.

In reply, Green were reduced to 36/3 in 9.3 overs in the first innings by Nathu Singh, before three floodlight towers stopped functioning to disrupt play for an hour.

Earlier, as the first session in afternoon kicked off amid heightened expectations, Red batsmen inexplicably failed to apply themselves. Once opener KS Bharat departed following his mistimed pull off Sandeep, the procession began. Yuvraj, coming at No 4, was on his way back on the ninth ball he faced after his attempted flick landed in the palms of Rajat Paliwal at square leg. KB Arun Karthick, who has emerged as the mainstay of Assam batting, departed with an unbecoming slog to the mid-wicket off Ojha.

Sandeep's well pitched up delivery found the edge of Sudip Chatterjee's bat while Gurkeerat paid the price of batting from his crease to a Rajpoot delivery that kicked up after pitching. At the end of the first session, Red found themselves in a spot of bother after being reduced to 67/6 in the 27 overs.

Mukund pushed the scoring in the second session, which was delayed by 17 minutes due to failure of flood lights, and finally found an ally in the attacking Anureet Singh with whom he rustled up 50 runs for the eighth wicket. Ojha ended Mukund’s long stay when the left hander dragged the ball onto his stumps. Ishwar Pandey entertained with a few lusty blows before Ojha bowled him to draw curtains on Red’s innings.

However, Red, carrying three seamers in their XI, had Nathu delivering the goods for them. The tall Rajasthan pacer extracted good pace and bounce, and produced a brilliant delivery that came back a long way to rip through Robin Uthappa’s defence in just the second over of their innings. Jalaj Saxena’s slash off Nathu was caught behind three overs later. Nathu then returned to trap Paliwal leg before as the Services batsman tried to play across the line to an inswinger.

 

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