Kaul helps Punjab tighten hold on Assam


Those in charge at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium pride themselves on what a certain Sachin Tendulkar said about the pitch here many years ago. “He called it the most sporting wicket he had seen,” an official gushed.

“He also suggested that the BCCI must hold its conditioning camp here before every overseas assignment,” added another. The amazing fact is that these observations are still valid.

On a wicket with an even cover of grass and offering good carry, medium-pacer Siddarth Kaul (26-4-81-4) bowled his heart out to put Punjab in a commanding position on the first day of its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Assam on Wednesday.

At stumps, Assam was 223 for eight with top-scorer J. Syed Mohammad on 50 (142b, 6x4) and Arup Das on nought.

It’s not that the wicket didn’t aid run-scoring. Those who were prepared to bide their time were rewarded with the ball coming onto the bat.

Openers Pallav Kumar Das (46, 101b, 7x4) and Rahul Hazarika (12) did just that by negating the threat posed by Kaul, Barinder Singh Sran (21-4-67-2) and Deepak Bansal (18-4-36-1) in the first hour.

But once Bansal had Hazarika caught by skipper Harbhajan Singh in the 18th over, there was no looking back.

Harbhajan, who won the toss, introduced himself as late as the 29th over, but made up for that delay by having Das caught at short-leg immediately.

Kaul impresses

That said, it was Kaul who impressed the most. Ticking off the wickets column by dismissing Gokul Sharma with a ball that shaped away, he bowled long spells and picked up at least one wicket in each session.

Like Das, Amit Verma (42, 111b, 5x4) and Mohammad also played some good-looking drives. Batting at No. 7, Mohammad used his feet well against the spinners, besides shepherding the lower order.

Assam took lunch at 91 for three, and the period between the long break and tea cost them three wickets, including that of K.B. Arun Karthick (5), the team’s star this season.

Sran got one to jag back into the right-hander to let it uproot the furniture.

At tea, Assam was 159 for five in 61 overs. Things went from bad to worse for Assam after Punjab took the second new ball.

Kaul returned to dismiss Amit Sinha, who paid the price for fishing outside the off-stump. Sran got his second when Dhiraj Goswami committed a similar error.

The scores:

Assam — 1st innings: Pallav Kumar Das c Uday Kaul b Harbhajan Singh 46, Rahul Hazarika c Harbhajan Singh b Deepak Bansal 12, Gokul Sharma c Gitansh Khera b Siddarth Kaul 20, Amit Verma lbw b Siddarth Kaul 42, K.B. Arun Karthik b Barinder Singh Sran 5, Tarjinder Singh lbw b Siddarth Kaul 13, J. Syed Mohammad (batting) 50, Amit Sinha c Mayank Sidhana b Siddarth Kaul 13, Dhiraj Goswami c Mayank Sidhana b Barinder Singh Sran 2, Arup Das (batting) 0; Extras (lb-5, wd-1, nb-14): 20; Total (for eight wickets in 88 overs): 223.

Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-84, 3-85, 4-94, 5-115, 6-181, 7-210, 8-221.

Punjab bowling: Siddarth Kaul 26-4-81-4, Barinder Sran 21-4-67-2, Deepak Bansal 18-4-36-1, Harbhajan Singh 11-5-11-1, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 8-2-15-0, Pargat Singh 2-0-6-0, Mandeep Singh 2-1-2-0.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 7:31:14 AM |

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