Ranji Trophy finals: Ton-up Snell, resolute lower-order lift Saurashtra

Agile: Wasim Jaffer takes a fine reflex catch to dismiss Dharmendrasinh Jadeja.

Agile: Wasim Jaffer takes a fine reflex catch to dismiss Dharmendrasinh Jadeja.  

Vidarbha manages a slender five-run lead as the game heads towards an exciting finish

Living up to the billing as a clash of the equals, the Ranji Trophy final is poised for an exciting finish at the end of a topsy-turvy third day’s play at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.

The day started with Vidarbha dismissing opener Snell Patel soon after he got to his hundred but the Saurashtra tail then staged a fightback just like Vidarbha’s and even threatened to earn the innings lead.

After gaining a slim five-run advantage, Vidarbha lost both the openers before Ganesh Satish — promoted to No. 3 — and Wasim Jaffer saw the day off with Vidarbha at 55 for two, with a cumulative lead of 60.

Returning the favour

If the final three Vidarbha wickets had frustrated Saurashtra for the entire first session of the second day, it was the turn of Saurashtra’s lower order to return the favour. The last five wickets— especially the 10th-wicket partnership between captain Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya that added 60 runs in 117 minutes — may have fallen agonisingly short of the magic mark of 312.

But considering the match is set to produce a result, the 176 runs added by those five wickets would be worth the gold as they brought Saurashtra back in the game.

When Snell was caught behind off Umesh Yadav, who had given the opener and the other overnight batsman Prerak Mankad body blows in plenty, Saurashtra was 184 for seven in the first hour.

But Unadkat made his first telling contribution of the season with the willow — lofting and sweeping spinners with panache — and the last three batsmen stood up with him to give themselves some hope with the ball.

They were fortunate with the generally safe palms of Jaffer which failed to pouch Kamlesh Makvana on nine (at 194 for seven) and a half-chance when Sakariya hadn’t opened his account (at 248 for nine).

Repair work

Makvana and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja started the repair work with a valuable 38-run partnership. Left-hander Jadeja drove with flair, while Makvana negotiated spinners, even employing an upper-cut against Umesh for a one-bounced four.

But the Vidarbha spinners continued to toil on a pitch that didn’t offer as much turn as it did on day two. Left-armer Aditya Sarvate, who had trapped Mankad in front early in the morning, got Vidarbha in the game by forcing lefie Jadeja to nick one to Jaffer.

The veteran again played an instrumental role in seeing the back of Makvana with a reflex catch in front of his face off Akshay Wakhare.

Sakariya then gave Unadkat good support. But just when Saurashtra was within a touching distance of Vidarbha’s total, Unadkat fell top-edging a sweep off Wakhare. Perhaps thriving on the confidence from the fightback, Jadeja ensured the game was in the balance, first uprooting leg-stump exposed by Faiz Fazal and then deceiving Sanjay in flight.

The scores:

Vidarbha — 1st innings: 312.

Saurashtra — 1st innings: Harvik Desai lbw b Sarvate 10, Snell Patel c Wadkar b Umesh 102, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja lbw b Sarvate 18, Cheteshwar Pujara c Jaffer b Sarvate 1, Arpit Vasavada c Jaffer b Wakhare 13, Sheldon Jackson c Wadkar b Wakhare 9, Prerak Mankad lbw b Sarvate 21, Kamlesh Makvana c Jaffer b Wakhare 27, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja c Jaffer b Sarvate 23, Jaydev Unadkat c Sanjay b Wakhare 46, Chetan Sakariya (not out) 28; Extras (b-5, lb-4): 9; Total (in 117 overs): 307.

Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-79, 3-81, 4-115, 5-131, 6-173, 7-184, 8-222, 9-247.

Vidarbha bowling: Gurbani 8-3-13-0, Umesh 29-7-59-1, Sarvate 40-12-98-5, Karnewar 20-7-48-0, Wakhare 20-1-80-4.

Vidarbha — 2nd innings: Faiz Fazal b D. Jadeja 10, R. Sanjay st sub (Barot) b D. Jadeja 16, Ganesh Satish (batting) 24, Wasim Jaffer (batting) 5; Total (for two wkts. in 31 overs): 55.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-45.

Saurashtra bowling: Unadkat 8-3-7-0, Sakariya 4-2-2-0, Makvana 8-3-10-0, Jadeja 11-0-36-2.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:11:44 PM |

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