Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group B: Gill nears double century as Punjab dominate Tamil Nadu

Young batsman Shubman Gill hit a superb unbeaten 199 (234 balls, 21X4, 4X6) on Saturday to power Punjab to 308 for 2 in reply to Tamil Nadu‘s first innings score of 215 on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match. The host wrapped up Tamil Nadu’s innings in one over when R Sai Kishore (1) was run out by Baltej Singh, adding two runs to their overnight score.

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Punjab began their reply in a solid manner as 19-year-old Gill and Jiwanjot Singh (33, 94 balls, 6X4) blunted the TN pace attack, comprising T Natarajan, M Mohammed and K Vignesh with a mix of caution and aggression. While the batsman showed a lot of patience and kept the rival bowlers at bay, Gill was all elegance as he unfurled numerous shots on both sides of the wicket. Some of the shots, especially the cover drives, stood out as he looked untroubled during his knock.

It was a struggle for the Tamil Nadu bowlers as Gill proved unstoppable, hitting shots at will while skipper Mandee Mandeep Singh (50 batting) batted in a calm manner at the other end. Gill and Jiwanjot added 107 for the first wicket as Tamil Nadu captain Baba Indrajith rung the changes in an attempt to get a breakthrough.

Sai Kishore got the first wicket for Tamil Nadu when he had Jiwanjot caught by Shahrukh Khan at silly-point. The talented, young Anmolpreet Singh (7) didn’t last long, raising the visitor’s hopes. However, the partnership between Gill and Mandeep went from strength to strength and helped Punjab gain the ascendency.

Gill kept hitting boundaries and was not afraid to hit the ball in the air, while Mandeep overcame spells of slow scoring to keep the runs flowing. The 19-year-old, one of the stars of India’s triumph in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, spoken of highly by the legendary Rahul Dravid, underlined his class, unleashing beautiful strokes and never looked in trouble.

Bad light ended his quest for a maiden Ranji double ton and Gill would resume on Sunday hoping to extend Punjab’s current lead of 93 and take control of the match. He is the second Indian batsman after Dravid in Adelaide 2003, in first-class history to remain not out on 199 at the end of a day’s play.

Brief scores: Punjab 308 for 2 (Shubman Gill 199*, Mandeep Singh 50*) lead Tamil Nadu 215 all out (Vijay Shankar 71, M Mohammed 27, Manpreet Grewal 5 for 55) by 93 runs.