Despite an unbeaten 93 by Hemant Dogra, Himachal Pradesh lost the initiative to Punjab on the opening day of their Cooch Behar Trophy North Zone League match at the Dhruve Pandove Stadium in Patiala on Saturday. Replying to HP's 210, Punjab, helped by a 93-run opening stand between Binwant Singh (44 not out) and Gaganinder Singh (50) ended the day at 134 for for 1.

Opting to bat, HP were off to a good start with openers Anil Sharma (30) and K Sharma (33) putting on 63 runs in 16.2 overs before Mandora bowled both the batsmen in successive overs. With the score 70 for two, Hemant Dogra and Paras Dogra (12) came together. They took the score on to 91 when Paras Dogra gave a return catch to Sandeep Sawal. This brought in Hitesh Angrish and he and Hemant Dogra forged a 68 run partnership for the fourth wicket off 16.3 overs. Angrish (23) then departed, bowled by Uniyal, who finished with three for 42.

New batsman Shashi Kumar (0) was dismissed two balls later in the same manner. Uniyal was not finished and in his next over had Prince Angaria (0) leg before. At this juncture, Punjab's frontline seamer Gagandeep Singh (4 for 65) came back strongly to mop up the Himachal tail leaving Hemant stranded, seven short of his century. Hemant Dogra had held the Himachal fort for 133 minutes. He faced 101 balls and hit 13 fours and three sixes.

Binwant Singh and Gaganinder Singh responded with a 93 run stand off 23.5 overs. Gaganinder was the more flamboyant of the two and he found the boundary ropes with some regularity. He reached his fifty of 68 balls with the help of eight fours. After a 95-minute stay, he was caught by Hemant Dogra off Angaria. SP Singh joined Binwant and the two came in unbeaten when stumps were drawn.