February 7, 2002

Punjab pile on the agony for Orissa

Staff Reporter

Punjab batsmen piled on the runs to put their team on course for an outright win against Orissa at the PCA stadium, Mohali. At the end of day three, the home team were 357 for six, an overall lead of 364 runs.

Punjab lost opener Manish Sharma, who had made 73 on Wednesday, early in the morning. But fifties from Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia and Ankur Kakkar, alongwith useful knocks from skipper Pankaj Dharmani and Harbhajan Singh saw Punjab take complete control of the game.

Yuvraj made 50, Mongia 51, and Dharmani 41. Towards the end of the day, Kakkar, who was batting on 50, shared a rousing unbeaten 79-run partnership with Harbhajan. The Indian off-spinner, who has turned into quite an improviser with the bat these days, was batting on a breezy 43 off 59 balls with six fours. The hard-working Debashish Mohanty was the only Orissa bowler to make an impression on the Punjab batsmen. He claimed three of the four wickets to fall on the day.

With two days play left, Orissa are staring at the prospect of chasing a formidable fourth innings score in order to secure a place in the semi-finals. What they might need is a grand stand near the magnitude of the one that Sanjay Raul and Shiv Sunder Das put up against Bengal in one of the league matches - the two realised 436 runs for the third wicket then.