Dindigul: Delhi batsman Dhruv Shorey (86 batting) held firm as India Blue struggled to 183 for 5 in reply to India Red's first innings total of 316 on day two of the Duleep Trophy match at the NPR College ground here on Friday.
Shorey, who played for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL earlier this year, showed he could grind it out in the longer version too as he negotiated a hard-working India Red bowling attack to lead the Blue's fightback after the team had slipped to 18 for 3.
Paceman Rajneesh Gurbani, who starred in Vidarbha's maiden Ranji Trophy triumph last season, took two of the first three wickets to fall to peg India Blue back.
He dismissed Bengal left-hander Abhishek Raman (26 balls, 2X4) in the sixth over and later sent back the talented Anmolpreet Singh (1) to leave India Blue at 18 for 3.
In between J&K off-spinner Parvez Rasool castled skipper Faiz Fazal for 1.
Shorey and Andhra batsman Ricky Bhui (41, 5X4, 1X6) put on 112 runs for the fourth wicket in an enterprising display of batting.
Shorey looked particularly good in handling the likes of Gurbani and spinners Rasool and Shahbaz Nadeem with panache. He hit eight fours and a six in his 174-ball vigil.
Earlier, when India Red resumed at 256 for 4, Siddhesh Lad, who was batting on 83, could only add five runs to his overnight score, falling to Bandaru Ayyappa.
Ashutosh Singh, who retired hurt on 34 yesterday, returned to the middle and remained not out on 41. He added some vital runs with Abhimanyu Mithun (31, 4X4, 1X6).
Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and Akshay Wakhare finished with three wickets each while Ayyappa and Jaydev Unadkat had two scalps each.
Brief scores: India Red 316 all out in 114.5 overs (Sanjay Ramaswamy 72, Siddesh Lad 88, B Aparajith 48, Saurabh Kumar 3 for 75, A Wakhare 3 for 76) vs India Blue 183 for 5 in 63 overs (Dhruv Shorey 86 batting, Ricky Bhui 41, Rajneesh Gurbani 2 for 12)