Karun Nair’s first first-class century in nearly two years helped India Red book their berth in the day-night Duleep Trophy final this season. The Karnataka batsman’s unbeaten 166 helped Red secure a draw against India Blue in Alur, taking three points from the game on the basis of their first-innings lead, to top the table.
Red had added 93 runs to their existing lead of 30 runs, for the loss of both the openers, by stumps on Day 3. Resuming his knock from 66, Nair finally managed to bring up the three-figure score – a feat he missed in the first innings by just a single run.
Much like in their first innings, Ankit Kalsi played a vital role in the third-wicket partnership. Though this time, the 25-year-old failed to bring up what would have been his second century of the game. In the 157-run stand, the Himachal middle-order star contributed 64, off 160 balls.
The star performer of the day, though, was Nair who hit 19 boundaries and a six in his 223-ball knock, to follow his 99 in the first innings and bag the Man of the Match award.
In the injury-forced absence of Basil Thampi, Blue’s bowling was led by Jalaj Saxena who added three more wickets to his tally of one yesterday and finished with match figures of 7 for 162.
Red will now take on India Green in their league game, starting Thursday (August 29), before the final that’s slated to be held at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from September 4.
Brief scores: India Red 285 (Ankit Kalsi 106, Karun Nair 99; Diwesh Pathania 4-55, Jalaj Saxena 3-57) and 297 (Karun Nair 166*, Ankit Kalsi 64; Jalaj Saxena 4-105) drew with India Blue 255 (Ankit Bawne 125, Anmolpreet Singh 56; Avesh Khan 4-58, Akshay Wakhare 3-32)
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