It was the gritty Jalaj Saxena’s turn to pile on the agony upon Hyderabad, scoring a chanceless century which helped Madhya Pradesh grab the first innings lead on the final day of the Ranji Trophy Group A match here on Monday. Saxena and his captain Devendra Bundela put on 204 runs for the sixth wicket off 496 balls which effectively sealed the hosts’ fate.
Madhya Pradesh scored 432 for eight declared in reply to Hyderabad’s 341 in the first innings, and in the inconsequential second essay the home team finished at eight for no loss before play was called off with no possibility of any result.
With Bundela more than willing to play second fiddle — he scored his first boundary of the day after 93 balls and 128 minutes — Saxena seized the opportunity to score his fifth century in his 45th first-class game.
On a dead pitch which was a bad advertisement for first-class cricket as it showed no signs of wear and tear even on the fourth day, the Hyderabad bowling looked mediocre. Only off-spinner Vishal Sharma looked good, if not menacing, and that too after the opponents achieved their main objective.
V.V.S. Laxman did not take the field today either, but later said he was feeling much better and that he would be fit for the next game against Saurashtra starting here on November 17.
Saxena’s innings stood out for the way he combined attacking stroke-play from the first ball of the day when he essayed a flowing cover drive off fast bowler Kaneshkk Naidu.
And, not surprisingly, Madhya Pradesh took the lead 30 minutes before lunch thanks to the wonderful batting by Bundela (142, 437 balls, 12x4, 2x6) and Saxena (142, 332 balls, 15x4).
Once the issue of the lead was settled, the match petered out into meaningless affair with nothing at stake and ended in a draw.
The home team opened its account to pick up one point from two games while Madhya Pradesh has four from two games.
Hyderabad — 1st innings: 341
Madhya Pradesh — 1st innings: Naman Ojha c Khaleel b Khader 17, Satyam Choudhary c Khaleel b Kaneshkk 5, Zafar Ali c Arjun b Vihari 2, Devendra Bundela c & b Vishal 142, Udit Birla c & b Kaneshkk 52, Anand Singh c Khaleel b Khader 8, Jalaj Saxena c Khaleel b Quadri 142, Ankit Sharma (not out) 29, Anand Rajan c Akshath b Vishal 6, Amit Sharma (not out) 9, Extras (b-4, lb-5, nb-4, w-7) 20; Total (for eight wickets declared in 191 overs) 432.
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-19, 3-35, 4-143, 5-159, 6-363, 7-407, 8-416.
Hyderabad bowling: Md. Khader 27-6-65-2, Kaneshuk Naidu 32-7-91-2, G.H. Vihari 10-2-29-1, Lalith Mohan 54-17-73-0, Vishal Sharma 43-10-110-2, Syed Quadri 20-4-43-1, Ravi Teja 4-1-4-0, Akshath Reddy 1-0-8-0.
Hyderabad — 2nd innings: Akshath Reddy (not out) 8, D.B. Ravi Teja (not out) 0, Total (for no loss in eight overs) 8.
Madhya Pradesh bowling: Jalaj Saxena 3-1-2-0, Ankit Sharma 3-1-6-0, Zafar Ali 1-1-0-0, Satyam Choudhary 1-1-0-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy