The India Green bowlers finished on a high on day four as they recovered from yet another century stand from Gautam Gambhir (59) and Mayank Agarwal (58). Following his century in the first innings, Sheldon Jackson scored yet another stroke-filled knock (79 not out) before spinners Shreyas Gopal (4/53) and Pragyan Ojha (3/90) ran through the India Blue lower order to bundle them out for 298. Being asked to chase an improbable total of 769, Murali Vijay (73) and and Robin Uthappa (66) breezed away. India Green finished at 179/4 at the close of play. India Blue will face India Red in the final of the Duleep Trophy.
In the pursuit of quick runs, India Blue lost wickets in a heap but not before Gambhir and Agarwal farmed their third consecutive stand that crossed three figures (118). Both batsmen got fifties before Jalaj Saxena removed the opening pair. Buoyed by scoring 166 in the first innings, Cheteshwar Pujara also tried to up the ante and played plenty of horizontal bat shots, sometimes trying to force deliveries wide outside the off-stump onto the leg side. Ojha removed Pujara, who played a poor shot, pushing the ball to substitute fielder Dev Singh at silly-point.
Dinesh Karthik (57) played yet another fluent knock, piercing the gaps gleefully and bringing up a 39-ball half-century before Gopal brought an end to his stay at the crease. Jackson was left to rally around with the tail yet again, a situation he countered once again by playing attacking cricket. Jackson was severe straight down the ground and went after the spinners, who were getting turn from the wicket, and Ojha and Gopal hardly broke into a sweat before admonishing the India Blue tail.
Ojha suffered a nasty hit while fielding at mid-on from a Pankaj Singh hit, and lay on the floor holding his head. The left-arm spinner was taken to the hospital amidst widespread panic that ensued when the incident occurred.
Singh got Saxena out early but two senior India pros, Vijay and Uthappa, decided to cash in on the opportunity to get free batting practice. The discipline of the India Blue bowlers from the first innings went out of the window as they leaked runs, despite the pink ball offering swing late in the evening. When Karn Sharma was brought on, the batsmen used their feet and brought up more boundaries but the leg-spinner had the last laugh when he broke the 116-run partnership, which had come in just 134 deliveries. The final will be played in Greater Noida from September 10-14th.
India Blue 707 (Mayank Agarwal 161, Cheteshwar Pujara 166, Sheldon Jackson 105; Shreyas Gopal 5/173) and 298 (Sheldon Jackson 79 not out, Gautam Gambhir 58, Mayank Agarwal 58 not out; Shreyas Gopal 4/53, Pragyan Ojha 3/90) drew with India Green 237 (Parthiv Patel 55, Suresh Raina 52; Abhimanyu Mithun 3/16, Karn Sharma 3/74) & 179/4 (Murali Vijay 73, Robin Uthappa 66; Karn Sharma 2/68).