For much of the opening day of the Duleep Trophy match between India Red and India Blue, Red’s left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav was guilty of bowling too short. On Tuesday, the 21-year-old got his length right and grabbed a four-wicket haul to negate the 151-run opening stand between Blue skipper Gautam Gambhir and Mayank Agarwal.
From 151 for 1, India Blues slipped to 200/5. Yadav was not scared to flight, and Agarwal was the first to take the bait. The Karnataka batsman, who had just smoked a straight six off Yadav to enter the 90s, was beaten on the cut. Next ball, Yadav flighted, and an eager Agarwal obliged, only to be beaten in the air and get stumped.
In the 12 balls that followed, Yadav ran through Blue’s middle-order. He beat Suryakumar Yadav in flight, caught Karn Sharma plumb in front, took the edge of Baba Aparajith and generally looked like taking a wicket off every ball.
The Blue openers faced a probing opening spell from Pradeep Sangwan and Ishwar Pandey.
Gambhir edged a boundary off the second ball he faced. In the next over, Ishwar Pandey got one to jag back and hit Agarwal on the thigh pad. The boundaries, however, came at regular intervals.
Nathu Singh was brought into attack in the 11th over of the evening, and the lanky pacer beat Agarwal’s outside edge first ball. In his second over, Nathu got one to straighten after pitching and trapped Gambhir, ending the 151-run opening stand.
Agarwal produced some delightful drives interspersed with deft nudges, and two pull shots, both hit in front of square, bore his class. He looked good for a ton before Yadav, whose eight of nine wickets in the previous game came under lights, decided to do an encore.
Brief Scores: India Blue 200/5 (G Gambhir 77, M Agarwal 92; K Yadav 4/49) vs India Red.