Sheldon Jackson has reason to feel flattered. After a long wait on the side lines, he has made almost every opportunity count in this season’s Ranji Trophy. On Thursday he scored a third century (107, 172b, 16 x 4s, 1 x 6) to aggregate 698 in eight matches.

Jackson’s superb display and determined efforts by Kamlesh Makwana and Vishal Joshi took Saurashtra to a first innings total of 477 in the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Punjab at the SCA Stadium here on Thursday. After being kept on the field for eleven hours and 21 minutes Jiwanjot Singh, dropped at silly point by Jackson off Makwana on 11, and Ravi Inder Singh survived the post-tea session and Punjab finished at 41 for no loss.

Jackson had been in top form against Karnataka in the quarter-finals, making 83 and 117. He began the second day with a series of drives on the off side, but it was a cut shot of seamer Sandeep Sharma that took

him past the century mark. He welcomed the second new ball taken after 90.1 overs with a firm straight drive of Siddharth Kaul, but somehow he could not measure up to an in-dipper from the same bowler and saw his off and middle stumps disturbed.

Kaul’s strike with the second new ball at the stroke of the first session of the morning ended the sixth wicket stand that not only delivered 106 runs, but also raised hopes of the home team pushing hard towards a total close to 500. Makwana proved to a hard nut to crack and Joshi too put his best foot forward to thwart the several bowling changes effected by skipper Harbhajan Singh who started the day’s proceeding with Chairman of the selection of Committee Sandeep Patil in attendance.

The pitch was at its best behaviour enabling the ball to be defended and driven in front of the wicket without fear and Makwana swung into action scoring heavily of the second new ball. He and Joshi had taken their team to 426 adding 91 runs for the seventh wicket when umpire Rob Bailey awarded an appeal against Makwana (294m, 85, 216b, 12 x 4s) probably going by the sound of the bat hitting his pad and with the

ball spinning away from the right hander and travelling towards slip via a the `keeper’s glove. Joshi was eventually left without a partner at a career-best 55 made in 225 minutes, 136 balls and with five hits to the fence.

The scores:

Saurashtra (Ist Innings) S. Kotak c Mandeep b Harbhajan 54, S. Jogiyani b S.Kaul 5, R. Dave c U. Kaul b S.Kaul 16, J. Shah c S.Sharma b B.Sharma 87, S. Jackson b S.Kaul 107, A.Vasavada lbw b Kohli 8, K.Makwana c R.I. Singh b Ladda 85, V.Joshi not out 55 , J.Unadkat c S.Sharma b Ladda 9, D.Jadeja c U.Kaul b Ladda 17, S. Trivedi c U.Kaul b Harbhajan 0, Extras (b18, lb7, nb7, w 2) 34, Total (in 155 overs) 477

Fall of wkts: 1-6, 2-58, 3-150, 4-194, 5-229, 6-335, 7-426, 8-444, 9-476,

Punjab bowling: S.Sharma 21-6-60-0, S.Kaul 31-4-119-3, Amitoze Singh 4-0-20-0, Harbhajan, 37-6-102-2, Ladda 41-9-109-1, Bipul Sharma 11-4-12-1, Kohli 10-0-30-1

Punjab (Ist Innings) Jiwanjot Singh batting 11, Ravi Inder Singh batting 30, Total (for no loss in 17 overs)

Saurashtra bowling: Unadkat 6-3-7-0, Trivedi 4-3-4-0, D.Jadeja 5-1-29-0, Makwana 2-1-1-0.

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