India Red were 175/2 against India Green on the second day of the ongoing Duleep Trophy final as bad light forced an early close of play at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.
The Reds rode opener Abhimanyu Easwaran's valiant unbeaten century to strengthen their stand in the game and now trail by 56 runs against the Green, who had managed just 231 runs in their first innings, thanks to Mayank Markande's crucial unbeaten 76 runs down the order.
India Green resumed from their overnight score of 147/8 on Thursday with Markande on 32 and Tanveer Ul-Haq on 8 runs.
Right-arm medium pacer Sandeep Warrier came up with the first breakthrough of the day after dismissing Tanveer (18) to reduce India Green to 172/9. However, Markande kept the other end safe as he and last man Ankit Rajpoot (30) added a crucial 59 runs for the tenth wicket.
With the entire top and middle-order failing to score big, it was Markande's effort down the order which helped India Green amass a moderate total. Avesh Khan put the final nail in the coffin after packing back Rajpoot in the 73rd over.
Earlier, Jaydev Unadkat had created havoc in the India Green batting line up as he scalped four wickets for 83 runs.
In their reply, Priyank Panchal (33) and Easwaran (102 batting) gave a safe start as the duo steered India Red to the 50 run-mark in 16.2 overs. With the partnership developing and India Red approaching the three-digit mark, Rajpoot finally cut short Panchal's stay in the middle, leaving India Red at 87/1.
Easwaran and Karun Nair were then involved in a short 39-run partnership for the second wicket before Markande struck to send back the latter to the dressing room. Easwaran however, stayed strong and ensured the opponents couldn't make any further onslaughts as he and Ankit Kalsi (11) shared an unbeaten 49-run stand to help their side reach 175/2 when stumps were drawn for the day.
Brief scores: India Red 175/2 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 102 batting, Priyank Panchal 33; Mayank Markande 1/24) trail by 56 runs vs India Green 231 all out (Mayank Markande 76 not out, Ankit Rajpoot 30; Jaydev Unadkat 4/83) on Day 2.