The penultimate day’s honours belonged to Saurashtra in its Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ match against Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Monday.
If the aim was to post a sizeable total and thereby a challenging target, the task was well accomplished, a 74-run first innings lead bolstered by an impressive 270 for six at the close.
Hyderabad kept things tight, conceding the first boundary after 20 overs. Chirag Pathak found the ropes just once for his 43.
If useful partnerships build up an innings brick by brick, the second wicket pair of Pathak and Sagar Jogiyani put on 60, supplemented by the 70 from the fourth wicket duo of Jogiyani and Jayadev Shah.
The Saurashtra stumper showed substantial staying power at the crease, eclipsed for a while by Shah, who walked in when the former was on 43.
The visiting side’s skipper went into overdrive for his half century, hoisting Lalith Mohan to either side of the sight screen, besides slamming two boundaries.
Shah departed after a 67-ball stint, his miscued shot pouched by wicket-keeper Ibrahim Khaleel running towards point.
At tea, Saurashtra was 175 for four, propped up by just half a dozen boundaries apart from Shah’s two sixes.
Jogiyani was out when he was foxed by Akash Bhandari’s straighter one but not before being involved in his third 50-plus stand with Sitanshu Kotak for the fifth wicket, that spanned an hour and a quarter.
If Hyderabad’s spearhead Ashish Reddy soldiered on single-handedly as the sole quality speedster, Akash Bhandari (four for 92) more than made up for the ineptitude of the rest of the spin attack.
With enough variation in line and turn, the leg-spinner largely held the batsmen in check, especially the left-right combos that Saurashtra never seemed short of.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: 260
Hyderabad — 1st innings: 186
Saurashtra — 2nd innings: Chirag Pathak c Vihari b Ashish 43, Bushan Chauhan b Bhandari 8, S. Jogiyani lbw b Bhandari 69, R. Jadeja c Vihari b Ashish 4, Jaydev Shah c Khaleel b Bhandari 55, S.H. Kotak (batting) 47, Sheldon Jackson c Akshath b Bhandari 25, Kamlesh Makwana (batting) 10, Extras (b-4, lb-3, nb-2): 9, Total (for six wkts. in 90 overs): 270.
Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-83, 3-89, 4-159, 5-209, 6-246.
Hyderabad bowling: Ashish Reddy 16-3-31-2, Raviteja 10-4-35-0, Akash Bhandari 25-1-92-4, Lalith Mohan 22-3-68-0, Vishal Sharma 13-2-25-0, Ahmed Quadri 3-0-9-0, B. Sandeep 1-0-3-0.