Being Punjab’s highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy (582 runs in eight matches), the attention was solely focussed on southpaw Uday Kaul. The 22-year-old had failed to come up with decent scores in the on-going Punjab Inter District Senior Cricket Tournament for the Katoch Shield. But on Saturday he cracked a polished century that not only put Chandigarh in a strong position but also signalled his return to form in the final match going on at the PCA stadium. His ton ensured Chandigarh a strong first innings lead of 91 runs.
Resuming from their overnight score of 135 for 2, Chandigarh suffered their first setback when their skipper Vishwas Bhalla perished after adding just five runs to his overnight score of 39 runs to return to the pavillion for 44 runs. At 144 for 3, Uday joined Gurkirat Walia and the duo stitched a healthy 78-run partnership to take the team’s total to 218 before Walia was dismissed by medium pacer Mohit Mohindra for 37. Instead of holding back their attacking instincts, Uday and new batsman Gaurav Gupta went after Patiala bowlers and raised a century partnership of 114 runs for the fifth wicket in 37.1 overs. Gupta stayed at the crease for 144 minutes and consumed 97 deliveries for his 31 runs. At that moment when Chandigarh were threatening to take the match away from them, Patiala’s Mohindra struck to give the team much needed breakthrough by dismissing Gupta. Still trailing by six runs at the moment, Chandigarh then took lead when Simrat Bawa and Uday took the team to a 48-run first innings lead. Then Gaurav Gambhir and Uday took the team’s total score to 410 when Uday’s scintillating knock of 177 run came to an end. His innings included 27 boundaries. At the end of the third day’s play, Chandigarh were strongly placed at 429 for 7 in 148 overs with Gaurav Gambhir and Amit Uniyal batting on 11 and 17 runs, respectively.
Brief scores:Patiala:1st innings: 338 for all out in 136.1 overs (Reetinder Sodhi 108, Amitoze 79, Kunwar Raina 53, Pankaj Dharmani 40, Amit Uniyal 6 for 71, Karanveer Singh 3 for 81); Chandigarh: 1st innings: 429 for 7 in 148 overs (Uday Kaul 177, Sarul Kanwar 75, Vishwas Bhalla 44, Gurkirat Walia 37, Gaurav Gupta 31, Amrinder Singh 2 for 101, Mohit Mohindra 2 for 119).