Dindigul, Tamil Nadu: Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar's five-wicket haul helped India Blue secure a vital 83-run lead against India Green on a truncated third day of the final Duleep Trophy league match at Dindigul on Friday, virtually sealing a spot in the final.
Resuming at 151 for 4, India Green lost the wicket of Gurkeerat Mann (20, 4x4) with the score at 175 and Harpreet Singh Bhatia (3) four runs later, both to Saurabh.
The doughty Parthiv Patel (80, 109 balls, 8x4) meanwhile reached his half-century and added 40 runs for the seventh wicket with Aditya Sarwate (11).
When the skipper Patel fell leg-before to Saurabh at 231, it signalled the end of India Blue's hopes.
Patel played some trademark cuts and pulls and kept his team in the hunt even as Saurabh kept pegging away to pick up wickets.
Jaydev Unadkat cleaned up the tail to finish with impressive figures of 4 for 16 from 10.5 overs.
Armed with a lead, India Green reached 21 for no loss when rain interrupted play at 4.28 PM.
Persistent rain forced the umpires to call off play at 7. 30 PM, an hour ahead of the scheduled close.
India Blue made 340 in the first innings, riding on half-centuries from four of its batsmen, including an impressive 93 by Dhruv Shorey.
India Red has already booked a spot in the final, beginning on 4 September.