Cuttack, Oct 23 (UNI) Riding on Robin Uthappa's fluent knock of 94, defending champions India Blue compile a competitive total 235 for nine against India Red in the opening match of the NKP Salve Trophy Challenger Series at Barabati Stadium here today.
The star-studded India Blue failed to live up to their reputation as captain Yuvraj Singh, who was aiming to return in form, middle order batsman Virat Kholi and wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik got out cheaply.
However, a cameo knock of 43 by Irfan Pathan in the later stages of the innings helped them to reach a respectable total.
Showing good footwork and timing, Uthappa hit nine fours and a six in his 106-ball knock. In association with Ajinkya Rahane (28), Uthappa gave India Blue a fine start by garnering 87 runs for the opening wicket. That also proved to be the best partnership of the innings as India Blue Wickets fell at regular intervals and India Red fought back with tight bowling and enthusiastic fielding.
Earlier, in the afternoon, Yuvraj Singh won the toss and elected to bat on a new laid pitch that was tipped to offer good bounce. But in reality, the track helped the spinners.
India Red's new ball bowlers Pravin Kumar and Laxmipathy Balaji, of course, moved the ball a bit due to the overcats condotion. The pace duo and right arm spinner Mohnish Parmar picked up two wickets each.
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