November 10, 2001

Punjab bounce back after conceding first-innings lead

Staff Reporter

Punjab came roaring back after conceding a crucial first-innings lead of 56 runs to score 397 for three declared, off only 56 overs, against Services in their North Zone Ranji match at Amritsar on Friday.

The day began with Services' revelation of the season, 19-year-old Yashpal Singh, giving a pasting to the Punjab bowling attack and scoring a superb 202. He reached his maiden double century in style with a delectable leg-glance for four off left-arm spinner Babloo Kumar. He thus made the most of a life he got on 141 when Sandeep Sawal dropped him at mid-on off Babloo Kumar. Yashpal Singh also demolished Dinesh Mongia's bowling, scoring 28 runs in the 102nd over. The sequence of balls in the over read: 6,4,0,6,6,6.

Stung by Services' reply, Punjab's batsmen launched an attack on the mediocre Services bowling line up. Pankaj Dharmani played another scintillating knock of 127 not out. He showed immense patience and, later, some pluck, going after the bowlers and helping himself to seven boundaries and three sixes. This was Dharmani's third consecutive century and second of the match. His average in the first two matches of the season is now a staggering 352.

Yuvraj Singh played a characteristically breezy knock of 90 in just 77 balls. His innings was peppered with 10 hits to the fence and a six. Punjab's run-machine Dinesh Mongia also scored a quickfire 73 off 44 balls. He went after left-arm spinner Arun Sharma and hoicked him for two sixes on the trot. Later he thumped strike bowler Sudhakar Ghag for a six and a couple of boundaries. Reetinder Singh Sodhi chipped in with a valuable 40 not out.

In reply, Services were 13 for one in 10 overs. Set a target of 342, they have to knock off the required runs in 90 overs on Day Four.