Dinesh Karthik is all smiles as he lifts the magnificent trophy. His team-mates rush towards him to get a feel of the giant trophy. They're a happy bunch. It's been a terrific start to the season. The pink-ball experiment has translated into success for the second successive year. Remember that the success of the Duleep Trophy has already shown its results in the BCCI extending the pink-ball trial to the second Test between India A and New Zealand A in Vijayawada. Lot more to look forward to. This is only the beginning. The Ranji Trophy kicks off on October 6. So we hope to see you around then. More immediately, India are enjoying a strong start through their openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, to their chase of 335 against Australia in Bengaluru. So if you're ready for a switch over to the shorter format, do switch tabs. Goodbye from me!
"On a personal note, this is a great tournament for me," says Dinesh Karthik, the winning India Red captain. "And as a team, this was a great way to start the season. Hats off to Indrajith and Washington, the way they batted in the second innings, it got is out of trouble. Prithvi batted brilliantly. There were some great performances. Prithvi was batting really well, he was almost dominating. I just told him that the key to winning this match is bat as long as we can and put up a good total. It's very easy to score a century and then get out. I think Washington is a phenomenal talent. He's had a great start to his first-class career. He didn't play too many matches last year, but then the way he's been carrying the confidence from the matches he has played is very exciting. He's a tremendous talent, a player for the future, and it's important to groom him. It's important to keep yourself fit and find that consistency."
"The toss did matter but credit goes to the India Red team," says India Blue captain Suresh Raina. "There was nothing on the wicket initially, but credit goes to Prithvi Shaw and then Washington bowled really well. We lost the toss and lost the game. We relaly showed out character. First innings, we scored 300 and in the second innings, when me and Manoj batted, we didn't know if we'd bat two more overs or 10 more overs because everything was happening so quickly. It was very difficult to bat on this track, almost everything was turning and bouncing. We can't just rely on the toss and expect things to go your way. We could have tried harder."
Washington Sundar is Man of the Match for his 130 runs and 11 wickets. "It's a very good feeling, especially in the final against a India Blue team, it's very heartening. As I grew up playing cricket, I wanted to concentrate on my bowling as well, because I felt I was bowling well in the nets. Even in T20, if you can bat and bowl, you get to contribute in more ways to the team. I didn't have lot of confidence in my defence, so I thought I'll spend some time and get a partnership. I think bowling around the wicket and getting turn from the fourth stump gives a lot of options. I think I'll grow as I keep playing matches on such tracks."
6.10pm A clinical performance from India Red. Washington Sundar, what a star! No matter what happens in this domestic season from here on, this performance will remain one of the highlights of the season. This is only the start of a long season of domestic cricket in India and he has one and all excited at the prospect of what he can yet do as we get closer to the Ranji Trophy. This performance, when reflected on years later, will end up being classified as among the finest. Given the loose soil and explosions that we saw early on, we always knew India Blue had their backs to the wall. They would have had to break them to survive the grind of batting on this track, but as was the expectation at the start of the final innings, it did not end up being a very happy pursuit.
Ganesh: "There are six pacers in this game and none of them has got a decent spell, talks volumes of the pitch certainly not worthy of a finals pitch this." That's a bit harsh, don't you think? You've had three centuries in the match, a first-innings total of early 500 and some all-round brilliance. Not like the pitch has turned square from day one. Today is the fourth day and on conditions in the subcontinent, spinners have called the shots at this stage of a match for as long as Test cricket has been played in this part of the world. Why is it always such a bad thing when a pitch aids spinners?
Balan: "Yes; I agree the spinners are getting the job done, but don't they look tired now?" Agreed, they do. But nine wickets have been taken. Not entirely unfair to expect them to push that extra mile, on a fourth-day track no less.