November 3, 2001

Himachal on verge of an innings defeat

Staff Reporter

Excellent bowling performance from Punjab forced Himachal Pardesh to follow-on and they are again five down for 216 runs in 2nd innings in the North Zone Ranji Trophy league cricket match being played at PCA Stadium, Mohali.

Himachal Pradesh resumed their overnight innings from 147 for 5 with not out batsman Sangram Singh and Sandeep Sharma. Both played with great courage and showed some resistance against a disciplined attack. Sangram Singh completed his half century in 81 balls with the help of 8 fours. Trying to pull a short pitched rising delivery on leg stump from Amit Uniyal, he snicked the ball for keeper Dharmani, who took the catch and Uniyal gave a vital breakthrough to his team. The duo added 49 runs for the sixth wicket partnership.

After the departure of Sangram Singh tailenders could not stay longer and for the addition of only 17 runs they lost another four wickets. Debutant Amit Uniyal took three wickets for 33 runs while Vineet Sharma and Babloo Kumar also accounted for three wickets each after giving away 83 and 12 runs respectively.

Forced to follow-on, Himachal started their 2nd innings on a sound note as Nischal Gaur (51) and Raza Ali (14) added 46 runs for the first wicket. Raza Ali was brilliantly caught at third slip by Dinesh Mongia who took a single handed high catch to his left off the bowling of Vineet Sharma. Nayyar (5) joined Gaur but with the addition of 8 runs to the total he was trapped in front of wicket by Sandeep Sawal.

Sangram Singh and Nischal Gaur played cautiously and kept the scoreboard moving. Gaur completed his half century in 100 balls with the help of 5 hits to the fence. Amit Uniyal gave another jolt to Himachal team as he clean bowled Sangram Singh (13) with a yorker. The scoreboard was showing 91 runs for three wickets. With the addition of just two runs to the total Nischal Gaur lost his patience and was trapped in front of wicket by left arm spinner Babloo Kumar.

Here comes the brightest part of the innings when Sandeep Sharma joined skipper Virender Sharma. Both played aggressively and added 50 runs in just 62 balls. Virender was most instrumental in scoring runs at a quick pace. Virender completed his fifty with a cheeky single to point off Sandeep Sawal. He took 75 balls to complete his half-century which was studded with 7 boundaries and a huge six. The duo completed the 100-run partnership in 144 balls for the fifth wicket, which is a record for the fifth wicket against any team in this version of game.

Sandeep Sharma who was shaping well for a big score played early to a slower delivery from Anit Uniyal and gave a simple catch to Dinesh Mongia at mid-off. Sandeep scored 44 runs in 76 balls with 7 hits to fence. The duo added valuable 117 runs for their team and give them some stability and respect.

At the draw of stumps on day three Virender Sharma was batting on 61 while Paras Dogra had 5 to his name. Himachal still requires 113 runs to avoid innings defeat with five wickets in hand. Amit Uniyal captured two wickets at the cost of 51 runs, while Babloo Kumar, Sandeep Sawal and Vineet Sharma snared a wicket each.