Shillong, Nov 19: A proper full day of cricket was had today, with honours even between Meghalaya and Mizoram on Day 3 of their U-19 men’s Cooch Behar Trophy match at the MCA Ground, Polo, here.

Resuming their first innings on 4/1, Mizoram were all out for 206 and Meghalaya then reached 53/3 by stumps. The hosts thus trail by 153 runs. With the first two days largely lost to bad weather and a wet outfield, it seems that a draw at the end of the fourth and final day tomorrow will be the most likely outcome, though neither side can afford to take the other lightly.

Mizoram started very strongly with the bat this morning, with opener Johan making 73 and No. 3 batter Valpuia 68.

The pair put on 120 for the second wicket as Meghalaya were guilty of a dropped catch or two, some misfielding and wayward bowling.

However, a delivery from Angkit Tamang that bounced a little higher and nipped in towards Johan on the stroke of lunch saw him nick the ball into the gloves of wicketkeeper Dipankar Baruah. Johan was out for a well-made half-century that really tested the bowlers.

Meghalaya could not capitalise on the breakthrough in the day’s second session as Valpuia found excellent company in K Vanrotlinga (41). Together they appeared to be able to score at will and added runs at 5 an over, putting on 66 for the third wicket.

This is when the tables dramatically turned. With the scoreboard reading 188/2, both the set batters were quickly dismissed. Valpuia was out first, with a catch taken by a fielder in front of point off the bowling of Banialam Mylliemngap. The very next over, Vanrotlinga edged Angkit behind, with Dipankar pulling off an excellent diving catch.

Meghalaya had a real spring in their step after that, with the players bouncing around the field and cheering each other on. Even their catching and fielding improved from here onwards.

Mizoram never recovered and lost their last eight wickets for the addition of just 18 runs. All the wickets fell to pace bowlers, with Shavian Blah (pictured) doing the damage in the middle and lower orders to claim 4/51. Angkit finished with figures of 2/31 and Banialam 2/37, while left-armer Balgrik Sangma snatched 1/37.

Although 206 is probably more than what they would have wanted to give away after they won the toss yesterday and chose to field, Meghalaya will have been buoyed by that destructive bowling spell before tea.

However, their first innings had its hiccups as they lost three batters before stumps, all to Johan. As he did with the bat, so he performed with the ball and the Mizoram player finished the day with figures of 3/17. Lensbirth Marak top-scored with 15 for Meghalaya, though Pushkar Raj remains not out on 12 going into tomorrow.

(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo)

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