Ar­jun comes of age as colts beat Pak

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - [email protected] times­

Chandi­garh: In Septem­ber last year, a young open­ing bats­man from Chandi­garh im­pressed dur­ing a Dhruv Pan­dove Trophy match be­tween Mum­bai and Pun­jab un­der-19s. Ar­jun Azad, then a rel­a­tive un­known, han­dled his more fa­mous name­sake — Mum­bai pacer Ar­jun Ten­dulkar — with élan, scor­ing 151 and mak­ing coaches from Pun­jab sit up and take no­tice.

On Satur­day, Azad — this time play­ing for In­dia un­der-19 — scored a cen­tury as the colts beat Pak­istan com­fort­ably by 60 runs dur­ing their Asia Cup match in Mo­ratuwa, Sri Lanka. Open­ing the in­nings, Ar­jun scored 121 off 111 balls and added a match-win­ning 183 with the other cen­tu­rion of the day, No. 3 bats­man NT Ti­lak Verma (110 off 119 balls). Bat­ting first, In­dia U-19 scored 305/9 in 50 overs. In re­ply, Pak­istan were bowled out for 245 in 46.4 overs, with left-arm spin­ner Atharva Ankolekar bag­ging 3/36 off his 10 overs.

Ar­jun hit 11 fours and 4 sixes while Ti­lak had 10 bound­aries and a six to his credit. None of the other In­dia U-19 bats­men could go past 20.

“I have no words to de­scribe my feel­ing. It will take some time to sink in,” Ar­jun, who bagged his sec­ond player of the match award in the tour­na­ment, told TOIfrom Sri Lanka. “It was a good pitch to bat on. I took my time and once I set­tled in, started play­ing my shots. I scored an un­beaten 60 against Kuwait in the first match. It gave me the confidence that I belong here. I want to con­tinue scor­ing con­sis­tently.”

Brief scores: In­dia U-19 305/9 in 50 overs (Arjn Azad 121, NT Ti­lak Verma 110, Naseem Shah 3/52) bt Pak U-19 245 in 46.4 overs (Ro­hail Khan 117, Atharva Ankolekar 3/36).

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