CRICKET / Pujara and Jaydev Shah amass big centuries
A mix of right and left, solidity and enterprise, hurt a listless Tamil Nadu attack at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Cheteshwar Pujara and southpaw Jaydev Shah assumed control even as the host went into a defensive mindset too early on the third day of the Group B Ranji Trophy match here.
In pursuit of 566 for the lead, Saurashtra was closing in at 326 for three with the reliable Pujara (152 batting, 264b, 21x4) and skipper Shah (133 batting, 219b, 9x4, 6x6) at the crease. The duo has so far added a rousing 260 in 69.3 overs for the fourth wicket.
The technical purity in Pujara’s batsmanship stems from a balanced, relaxed stance and is enhanced by decisive footwork. While much has been said about the tightness of his defence, what elevates this erudite right-hander’s batting is the quickness with which he picks the length and travels either forward or back.
Pujara’s straight drive off the paceman Aswin Crist was a gem. His back-foot punches raced past point and a rasping front-footed drive screamed between mid-off and cover.
Shah’s batsmanship lacks the refinement of a Pujara; this left-hander bludgeons the ball rather than time it.
This brand of batting invariably requires a slice of luck and Tamil Nadu handed it to Shah when M. Vijay grassed him on eight at second slip off L. Balaji.
Soon, Shah brought his power into play. Left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas was flat-batted for a six over squarish mid-wicket and B. Aparajith’s off-spin was clouted over the sightscreen.
In fact, Srinivas was negated effectively by southpaw Shah. The left-armer requires to work on his arm-ball which can be an effective ploy against left-handers.
The surface suited stroke-play — the bounce was consistent — and did not show any signs of wear and tear. The Tamil Nadu bowling, undone by the right-left pair, failed to bowl a consistent line.
The host began on a promising note though. Bhushan Chauhan nicked one from Balaji and Sheldon Jackson was done in by late movement from occasional paceman R. Prasanna.
As the day wore on, Tamil Nadu missed a second specialist spinner.
The scores: Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 565 for eight decl.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: B. Chauhan c D. Karthik b Balaji 3, S. Jogiyani (run out) 0, C. Pujara (batting) 152, S. Jackson c D. Karthik b Prasanna 28, J. Shah (batting) 133; Extras (b-1, lb-2, nb-7): 10; Total (for three wickets in 93 overs): 326.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-12, 3-66.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Lakshmipathy Balaji 19-7-42-1, Aswin Crist 11-1-53-0, Jagannathan Kaushik 19-3-69-0, Ramaswamy Prasanna 8-1-26-1, Aushik Srinivas 23-5-77-0, Baba Aparajith 9-2-31-0, Baba Indrajith 3-0-16-0, Murali Vijay 1-0-9-0.