India Blue continued their domination on day two of the Duleep Trophy, amassing 693 for 6 before declaring the innings. Cheteshwar Pujara continued his great run from the previous day, remaining unbeaten on a superb 256, his 10th first-class double hundred. India Blue then extended their dominance. Having been on the field for the better part of two days, India Red then lost two wickets off consecutive balls to leave Red reeling at 16 for 2. Pankaj Singh claimed both the wickets. Shikhar Dhawan ended the day unbeaten on 14, and will have a big role to play if Red want to compete.
The day largely belonged to Pujara, who brought up his 11th first class double hundred. The India number three made 166 in the previous match, which augurs well with the New Zealand series, and a long home season coming up. Pujara got excellent support from two other of his Saurashtra teammates -- Sheldon Jackson and Ravindra Jadeja. Jackson was lucky as he got three lives, but once he settled in, he played some fine strokes, going on to complete his 11th first class hundred. His 134 featured 15 fours and two sixes, and his fifth wicket stand with Pujara was worth 243.
After Jackson was dismissed, Jadeja came to the crease, and with no pressure he eased his way to 48 from 66, with three fours and two sixes, taking India Blue close to the 700 mark. Thanks to Jadeja's brisk came, Blue managed to declare just before end of day's play. India Blue continued their domination with the ball as well. Pankaj got one to come back in to trap Abhinav Mukund lbw. Very next ball, he got one to beat Sudip Chatterjee's bat and pad, as the ball went on to clip the top of middle stump. Yuvraj Singh survived the hat-trick ball, but looked in no control at all, during his stay at the crease. He hadn't opened his account having faced 26 balls, as Red went to stumps with their backs to the wall.
The day began with the well-set Pujara and Dinesh Karthik at the crease. But, Red were off to a much better start, a wicket falling off the first ball. Karthik played a loose drive away from his body, and was bowled off a Pradeep Sangwan's delivery. Sangwan and Nathu Singh bowled much better than they did on the opening day. Jackson was particularly troubled a lot, and even got off the mark with an edge past slip. Stuart Binny got one to stop on Jackson, and the batsman offered a return catch, but Binny could not hold on. He later top edged Amit Mishra, when in his 20s, but Yuvraj put down the catch at slip.
Once he got through those tough periods, Jackson excelled in the company of Pujara, the latter even employing the reverse sweep to great effect. Pujara eased his way to a double hundred, whole Jackson got through to his ton. The latter got another life when he was dropped by Dhawan on 108. As the day progressed, the bowlers became increasingly tired. Gurkeerat Singh and Kuldeep Yadav bowled a number of half-trackers, which allowed India Blue to swell the advantage. Jackson eventually fell offering a return catch to Mishra. At the other end, Pujara crossed his 250 by pulling Mukund though managed to bowl Jadeja, which led to the declaration.
--By A Cricket Correspondent