Rajneesh Gurbani's 7 for 81 ensured three points for India Red in a drawn opening match against India Green in the Duleep Trophy 2018-19. Green ended up 28 runs short of Red's first-innings total, ending with one point as the match petered out into a draw on Monday, the fourth and final day.
Abhinav Mukund had won the toss for Red and chose to bat at the NPR College Ground in Dindigul, and the team was bowled out for 337. Gurbani, who made 22 from No.8, was part of a lower-order resistance led by Mihir Hirwani's career-best 61 that pushed Red past 300.
All batsmen in the top six had got starts, but only Ashutosh Singh made a substantial score, holding much of the innings together with a patient 80.
The extra runs proved crucial, as Green were bowled out for 309 despite B Indrajith's 109 and Sudip Chatterjee's 82. Green looked on course to take the first-innings lead when Indrajith and Chatterjee were putting together a 123-run stand for the third wicket. But Chatterjee was run out by Hirwani with the score at 158, and Green's innings faltered after that.
They would have still entertained hopes of grabbing the lead at 301 for 6, but Gurbani took out K Vignesh, Jalaj Saxena and Ashok Dinda in seven balls as Green slid to 302 for 9. Shahbaz Nadeem had Ankit Rajput caught shortly after as Green fell short of Red's first-innings tally.
With only academic interest left in the match, Sanjay Ramaswamy hit an unbeaten 123, while B Aparajith matched his twin brother's feat with an unconquered 101 as Red piled up 262 for 1 before declaring, at which point both teams shook hands to end the four-day contest.
All the matches in the Duleep Trophy will be held at the same venue, and are day-night affairs played with the pink ball. The next game will pit Red against India Blue from August 23.