Greater Noida: An all-round effort from India Red players helped the side thrash India Green by 219 runs in the opening match of the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament at the Greater Noida Sports Complex ground here on Friday.
With the win, the Yuvraj Singh-led brigade secured six points by virtue of an outright win in what was the country’s maiden first-class game played with the pink ball.
After a miserable first innings by both the sides, where India Red managed to take a slender 10-run lead, Man-of-the-Match Abhinav Mukund (77 in first innings, 169 in second) once again flourished in the second essay to take the side to a mammoth 486, with valuable contributions from centurion Sudip Chatterjee (114) and Gurkeerat Singh (82).
There was no stopping the duo of Mukund and Chatterjee, who forged a 240-run stand for the second wicket while Mukund added another 70 runs with Gurkeerat for the fourth wicket. Despite off-spinner Shreyas Gopal’s five wicket haul, the India Red batsmen kept exerting pressure on the bowlers, leaving them clueless.
In reply, the Suresh Raina-led India Green brigade, failed to put up a fight in both the innings to be skittled out for 151 and 277. If Rajasthani rookie pacer Nathu Singh (6-53) brought the opposition’s downfall in the first innings, it was chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (6-88) who bowled India Red to an emphatic win within the first hour of the final day.
Chasing a massive 496 in the fourth innings was never going to be an easy task for the India Green, but opener Robin Uthappa raised the hopes with a quickfire 66-ball 72 to lay a strong platform.
But the Karnataka batsman’s dismissal triggered a mini-collapse before skipper Raina (90) anchored the innings with a valiant effort. The southpaw, however, kept losing his partners as the batsmen found the going tough against the left-arm leg spin of Yadav.
Tottering at the overnight score of 217/7 after the third day’s play, Raina and pacer Ashoke Dinda (10) began the proceedings on Friday, but lost the three remaining wickets in less than an hour to hand India Red a victory.
India Red will now face the Gautam Gambhir-led India Blue at the same venue from Monday.