Sydney, March 26(IANS) - Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and opted to bat…
Siddhartha Sharma, Greater Noida: It was the last delivery of the third over. Jasprit Bumrah pitched it full and angled into Mayank Agarwal, who
missed a flick to be struck in front on five. Head down, Agarwal had started his walk back, but to his disbelief and delight, the pacer had over-stepped and it was ruled a no-ball.
The India Blue opener made the India Green bowlers pay for the let-off on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy tie, a virtual semifinal as the winner will qualify for the final against India Red.
In the last match against India Red, the Karnataka batsman was dismissed for 92. Agarwal was in form and needed to go on and get a big score, and he didn’t let the opportunity go waste this time.
With Blue skipper Gautam Gambhir going steady at the other end — he missed out on a deserved century after being run out for 90 — Agarwal batted fluently to reach his second first-class century (161 — 218 balls, 21×4, 1×6).
It was a repeat of the previous game as the duo stitched a 212-run partnership to put the team on top. India Blue, after Gambhir had elected to bat, were 336/3 at stumps with Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 63.
Gambhir’s relaxed presence played a role in Agarwal’s success as he constantly encouraged him to keep going. Gambhir played a classical innings by sticking to basics, playing straight and close to his body. Agarwal emulated Gambhir’s approach and scored a big hundred.
“Gautam was again very helpful. He helped me play spin as I twice faltered against spinners and he was there guiding me. He kept saying ‘bat longer and back yourself if you want to play a big shot’.