Jaydev (195) and Vasavada (70) complete Tamil Nadu’s misery
Cheteshwar Pujara shone bright on a murky Sunday. The Saurashtra batsman’s lasting edifice at Chepauk was as much about impeccable methods as his commitment to domestic cricket.
Pujara’s monumental 269 (461b, 33x4), skipper Jaydev Shah’s enterprising 195 (296b, 17x4, 8x6) and Arpit Vasavada’s valuable 70 (130b, 7x4) enabled Saurashtra comfortably cross Tamil Nadu’s 565 and take the first innings honours on the fourth and final day of the Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match on Sunday.
Tamil Nadu’s campaign seems to have run into rough weather. The side has eight points from four matches while Saurashtra has 15 from five.
The inadequacies in the Tamil Nadu attack — the think-tank blundered by going in with only four specialist bowlers — were exposed. Once again the fields were defensive and the body language indicated a lack of belief. M. Vijay put down a crucial catch — Vasavada was grassed at second slip off Aswin Crist when he was on six.
Pitch holds firm
On a pitch that, rather surprisingly, continued to hold firm, the Tamil Nadu bowlers required air-speed, swing or deception in flight (for spinners) to strike, but they disappointed.
Pujara’s batting is steeped in old values. In several respects, he is a throwback to another era when concentration and technique ruled.
His approach — stemming from exemplary footwork — is simple. He plays every ball on merit and uses the crease dynamically, not allowing the loose balls to go unpunished. In his marathon essay, Pujara, astonishingly, was hardly rapped on the pads.
Growing in confidence
His mammoth 353-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Jaydev deflated Tamil Nadu. The left-handed Jaydev grew in confidence as his innings progressed, rocking back to cut or punch and creating room for inside-out shots.
The captain’s cracking innings — his highest in first class cricket — ended when he edged Crist into the slip cordon.
The other southpaw, the spunky Vasavada, then took Saurashtra past Tamil Nadu’s score along with Pujara.
At the post-match briefing, Jaydev was lavish in his praise for Pujara’s magnificent innings while Tamil Nadu coach W.V. Raman felt shoddy catching cost his side the lead.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 565 for eight decl.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: Bhushan Chauhan c Karthik b Balaji 3, Sagar Jogiyani run out 0, Cheteshwar Pujara c Crist b Aparajith 269, Sheldon Jackson c Karthik b Prasanna 28, Jaydev Shah c Aparajith b Crist 195, Arpit Vasavada c Crist b Aparajith 70, Chirag Jani (not out) 0; Extras (nb-7, b-5, lb-4): 16; Total (for six wkts. in 161.4 overs): 581.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-12, 3-66, 4-419, 5-576, 6-581.
Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 27-9-77-1, Aswin Crist 19-2-76-1, J. Kaushik 29-4-108-0, R. Prasanna 8-1-26-1, Aushik Srinivas 46-7-155-0, B. Aparajith 22.4-3-71-2, B. Indrajith 9-0-50-0, M. Vijay 1-0-9-0.