India Blue v India Green, Duleep Trophy 2016-17, Greater Noida, 4th day September 7, 2016

India Blue enter final after dull draw

ESPNcricinfo staff

India Blue 707 and 298 (Jackson 79*, Gambhir 59, Shreyas 4-53, Ojha 3-90) drew with India Green 237 and 179 for 4 (Vijay 73, Uthappa 66, Karn 2-68)
Points: India Blue 3, India Green 1

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pragyan Ojha suffered a blow to the head and had to be stretchered off the field © PTI

The match between India Blue and India Green laboured to a predictable draw in Greater Noida, as India Blue, who began the fourth and final day with a lead of 555, chose not to declare and batted on until they were bowled out an hour from the dinner break. India Green, left with a target of 769, raced to 179 for 4 courtesy half-centuries from M Vijay (73) and Robin Uthappa (66) before the players shook hands as the match entered its final hour.

India Blue collected three points, by virtue of their 470-run first-innings lead, and set up a final date with India Red. India Green ended their campaign with a solitary point, having lost outright to India Red in the tournament opener.

Outplayed from the time they were asked to bowl first, India Green's day was made worse by a freak head injury to Pragyan Ojha. Ojha, fielding at mid-on, got down to stop Pankaj Singh's thwack, but the ball bounced unexpectedly and struck him on the side of his head. Ojha lay motionless, clutching his head, before being stretchered off. He was taken to a nearby multispeciality hospital and a neurosurgeon was consulted. Later in the day, the BCCI revealed that Ojha was safe, tweeting a picture of him on his hospital bed, flashing a smile and a thumbs-up.

At the time of Ojha's injury, India Blue were nine down. The day had begun with overnight batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Mayank Agarwal completing half-centuries, while Cheteshwar Pujara struck a brisk 31. Sheldon Jackson and Dinesh Karthik then came together for a fifth-wicket stand of 46. After Karthik's dismissal for 57, Jackson took centrestage, and the first-innings centurion once again gave India Green a hard time, tonking six fours and five sixes. When Pankaj Singh was cleaned up by Shreyas Gopal, Jackson was unbeaten 79 off 77 balls. Shreyas ended with figures of 4 for 53.

India Green's batsmen decided to have some fun and their innings made for entertaining viewing. M Vijay set the tone with an edged boundary over gully off the very first ball of the innings, and the batsmen frequently stepped out and hit over the top. Jalaj Saxena did not last long with that approach, however, flashing at one outside off to be caught at point. Thereafter, Uthappa and Vijay added 116 for the second wicket off just 134 balls.

The two took a liking to legspinner Karn Sharma, who offered them generous flight. They stepped down the track and heaved him either side of the wicket, frequently targeting long-on and long-off.

Green's batsmen had their share of luck, too. Karn put down a tough chance when Vijay hammered one straight back at him on 31. He was offered another life when Jackson misjudged a catch at extra-cover off the same bowler with Vijay on 46. The reprieves did not alter the second-wicket pair's approach, however. Uthappa raised his half-century by creaming Abhimanyu Mithun through extra cover in the 21st over, and Vijay joined him less than three overs later, lofting Karn for a boundary through the same region.

Karn, however, continued flighting the ball. He began finding turn too, and had Uthappa holing out to cover point, while Vijay picked out long-off.

Parthiv Patel's brief stay was ended by Parvez Rasool who got one to drift in and trap him lbw. Shortly thereafter, Gambhir decided he had had enough, and the players shook hands with Saurabh Tiwary unbeaten on 20, and Shreyas giving him company on 3.