On a day when he was dropped from the BCCI’s graded retainership, Yuvraj Singh came to his own as he blasted Maharashtra attack into submission with an attractive 136, thus guiding Punjab to a commanding position in Ranji Trophy, here on Monday.
The veteran India discard hit 25 boundaries and a huge six en route his 22nd first-class hundred as Punjab finished second day at 370 for eight, with a healthy first innings lead of 160 runs.
Last year’s runners-up Maharashtra had scored 210 in their first innings. Yuvraj was severe on seamers Anupam Sanklecha (3 for 75) and Shrikant Mundhe (1 for 112).
Left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar (1 for 57) got the prized scalp but not before getting a bit of stick as Yuvraj’s 106 off 136 runs came in boundaries and sixes. It came in 26 scoring strokes.
He added 112 runs for the fifth wicket with Gurkeerat Singh Mann (57). Prior to that, he had fashioned a 112-run stand for the fourth wicket, with opener Jiwanjot Singh (68).
Yuvraj was finally caught by Vijay Zol off Darekar but Punjab’s lead by then had reached 88. Skipper Harbhajan Singh (31) then used the long-handle to a good effect as he added 55 runs for the seventh wicket with glovesman Geetansh Khera (38 batting). Punjab will ideally like their lead to be around 200 as they are aiming for bonus points from the encounter.
On the previous day, pacer Siddarth Kaul had led a fine bowling display by Punjab with figures of 3 for 46 in their first innings in 71.4 overs. For Maharashtra, Rahul Tripathi top-scored with 56 from 110 deliveries while Ankit Bawne contributed 44.