Yuvraj Singh's match-defining knock of an unbeaten 164 hammered Madhya Pradesh to submission as Punjab posted a record 347 for 3 on the first day of a Ranji Trophy encounter on Thursday.
Currently out of favour as far as the national team is concerned, the left-hander 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.
Yuvi'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.
(With PTI inputs)