Yuvraj Singh shrugged off rustiness as he hammered Madhya Pradesh to submission with a superb knock of unbeaten 164 as Punjab posted a record 347 for 3 on the first day on a track helpful for the seamers in a Ranji Trophy encounter on Thursday.
Yuvraj, who is out of favour as far as the national team is concerned, showed that he is still a force to reckon with as his 25th first-class hundred was studded with 24 boundaries and he faced 241 balls in all. His century definitely is the highlight among all the matches of the Senior National Championship that are being held across the country.Punjab’s total, which was also propped by India discard Gurkeerat Mann’s undefeated 101 is the highest on the first day at Lahli surpassing Haryana’s 339/7 against Rajasthan during the last edition of the tournament.
Yuvraj’s innings came under pressure as he was at the crease with Punjab down at 15 for 2 losing Manan Vohra (2) and Uday Kaul (6). He added 180 runs for the third wicket with opener Jiwanjot Singh (61, 172 ball), who dropped anchor at one end with the stylish left-hander taking on an attack led by Ishwar Pandey (2/95).
He added another 152 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket stand with Gurkeerat whose 102 ball innings had 16 fours and a six. In this partnership, Gurkeerat was the one who attacked as spinners Ankit Sharma and MS Raghav were in operation.
Yuvraj’s innings was all the more praiseworthy as Tamil Nadu were shot out for less than 100 in the first match of the season while Mumbai lost 8 wickets while achieving a paltry winning target of 97.
While the pitch was a different one but the conditions in Lahli has always been challenging for the batsmen and Yuvraj showed why MSK Prasad and his colleagues cannot ignore his claim for yet another comeback at least in the shorter formats.
For Madhya Pradesh, their three medium pacers Pandey (2/95 in 27 overs), Gaurav Yadav (1/78 in 24 overs) and Chandrakant Sakhure (0/79 in 19 overs) bowled 70 overs amongst themselves but Yuvraj was equal to the task as he played both cuts and pulls with aplomb.
Punjab 347/3 in 89 overs (Yuvraj Singh 164 no, Gurkeerat Singh 101 batting, Jiwanjot Singh 61, Ishwar Pandey 2/95) vs Madhya Pardesh.