India Blue paved its way to the final of the Duleep Trophy after the league against India Green ended on a draw at the Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
With almost 1500 runs scored in the match, a draw was always on the cards as the Gautam Gambhir-led India Blue side fixed its date with Yuvraj Singh’s India Red for the summit clash from September 10 to 14 at the same venue.
The final promises to be a star-studded affair with India stars — opener Shikhar Dhawan, middle order bat Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja — being included in either side to get some match practice before the gruelling three-match Test rubber against New Zealand starts on September 22.
In the third and final league match, India Blue produced a dominating batting performance in their first innings amassing 707 runs with centuries from opener Mayank Agarwal (161), Cheteshwar Pujara (166) and Sheldon Jackson (105) while Gambhir (90) narrowly missed out on a century.
In reply, India Green could just manage a paltry 237 in their first innings, to trail by a whopping 470 runs.
But Gambhir did not allow a follow on and instead came out to bat as the India Blue side added another 298 runs in their second essay with notable contributions from man of the match Agarwal (58), Gambhir (59), Dinesh Karthik (57) and Jackson (79).
Faced with a daunting task of scoring 768 runs, Suresh Raina-led India Green managed well to hang around on the final day, scoring 179/4 with notable contributions from opener Murali Vijay (73) and middle order bat Robin Uthappa (66), before both the captains decided to shake hands, ending the tie in a draw.
The day also witnessed India Green left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha landing up in a hospital after being hit on the head while fielding during India Blue’s innings.
Brief Scores: India Blue 707, 298 (Sheldon Jackson 79, Mayank Agarwal 58, Shreyas Gopal 4/53, Pragyan Ojha 3/90) vs India Green 237, 179/4 (murali Vijay 73, Robin Uthappa 66, Karn Sharma 2/68)