The first thing the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh state associations had done after their teams earned a Ranji Trophy semifinal spot was request the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to release Pradeep Sangwan, Virat Kohli (both Delhi) and Tanmay Srivastava (UP) for the matches instead of putting them on a flight to South Africa with the India under-19 team.
Though the BCCI didn't relent then, they did allow Sangwan and Srivastava to come back midway through the tour and join their teams in time for the summit clash.
On Wednesday, both teenagers justified their recall by becoming the star performers for their sides. While Sangwan led the Delhi attack by picking three wickets for 73 runs to help restrict UP to 292 for seven, Srivastava walked away with the honours on Day One with a stylish 105 to shape the UP innings.
The moment Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and put UP in to bat, both Sangwan - the Delhi opening bowler - and Srivastava's - the UP opening batsman - might have felt a surge of excitement. With a tinge of grass on a surface which looked conducive for fast bowling initially, both the southpaws had a chance to give their side a decent start. There was the added incentive of impressing three national selectors, including chairman Dilip Vengsarkar, who were watching from the sidelines.
Sangwan, who finished as the highest wicket-taker in the tri-series in South Africa that involved India, South Africa and Bangladesh's U-19 teams, took some time to get the correct length and though his first spell read 6-3-11-0, he bowled a touch short. However, he got his act together when he changed ends and angle. Bowling around the wicket, he trapped Suresh Raina - one of the two UP batting mainstays - in front of the stumps. He then took a wicket in each of the other two sessions, including that of the star of the day, Srivastava.
"The wicket was quite similar to one in South Africa," Sangwan said after stumps. "It was moving a bit and there was the same balloonwala bounce."
Srivastava, on the other hand, first had to survive Sangwan and the other three seamers. But once he got his eye in, he looked set for a big one. He did make a big one. His strokes on the front foot were a delight to watch, so was his pull shot off Chetanya Nanda that sailed over the midwicket boundary to bring him his century, his first of the season.
However, that turned out be his last scoring shot. The next ball he faced after raising his bat was outside the off-stump from Sangwan. The 18-year-old fiddled with it and offered a regulation catch to Shikhar Dhawan in the slip cordon.
"It was a bad shot," Srivastava admitted. "I wish I could have stayed on for some more time. Not only would it have helped me get a big hundred, it would have also helped the team."
Though Srivastava was disappointed, he was satisfied to have anchored the innings after Mohammad Kaif and Raina fell early. On the other hand, Sangwan was looking forward to Thursday morning to add "two more wickets and complete a five-for".
But both will be satisfied with their Wednesday. As summed up by Srivastava: "We both had a field day. Both of us came good in South Africa and today as well."