Cricket

Ranji Trophy semifinal | Gujarat bowlers keep Saurashtra in check

Saurashtra’s Sheldon Jackson in action on day 1 of the Ranji Trophy semifinal match against Gujarat, in Rajkot on February 29, 2020.

Saurashtra’s Sheldon Jackson in action on day 1 of the Ranji Trophy semifinal match against Gujarat, in Rajkot on February 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Sheldon Jackson and Chirag Jani’s partnership holds the key for the host

Gujarat bowlers stuck to their task of testing Saurashtra batsmen’s patience to gain early advantage on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.

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Visiting captain Parthiv Patel’s decision to insert Saurashtra in raised a few eyebrows on a hazy morning since the strip — despite the tinge of green on the surface, primarily to bind the pitch together for the five-day affair — is a typical Rajkot flatbed. But the manner in which his bowlers, except an off-colour Roosh Kalaria, stuck to their task of bowling a fifth-stump line justified the decision at the end of the day.

With Saurashtra top-order succumbing to the temptation of playing away from the body, the home team posted 217 for five. In-form pair of Sheldon Jackson (69 n.o., 132b, 169m, 10x4, 1x6) and Chirag Jani (16 n.o., 66b, 82m, 2x4) stitched together a 55-run stand.

Thrice before the unbroken partnership did Saurashtra look set for a big partnership but lost wickets in quick succession. Openers Harvik Desai (35, 148b, 192m, 7x4) andKishan Parmar (37, 73b, 109m, 6x4) managed to see through the morning spells by Gujarat’s three-pronged pace attack. While Harvik displayed his tight defence and judged off-stump well, Parmar was fortunate twice (caught off a no-ball in slips on 3 and dropped at deep fine-leg by Roosh Kalaria on 36) to deprive Chintan Gaja of a wicket.

Just when boundary balls had started trickling in, Parmar’s attempted cut off Axar Patel resulted in an edge on to the stumps. Avi Barot then had a flurry of boundaries to take Saurashtra to 89 for one at lunch, but just when Harvik and Barot’s association

appeared threatening, Gujarat struck in successive overs. Harvik’s uppish slice was caught by a lunging Bhargav Merai at cover-point gaving Axar his second scalp, while Arzan Nagwaswalla was rewarded with Barot’s extravagant drive lobbing to covers. At 102 for three, Jackson resurrected the innings along with Vishwaraj Jadeja but Nagwaswalla shifted the balance back in Gujarat’s favour after tea.

 Vishwaraj edged the left-arm seamer to Parthiv while leftie Arpit Vasavada poked the first ball to Rujul Bhatt in the slips. Jani then saved the hattrick and gave Jackson the vital support to see the day off. But the duo’s work is far from done if the home team is to claw its way back in the Gujarat Derby.

Brief Scores:

Saurashtra 217/5 (Sheldon Jackson 69 no; Kishan Parmar 37; Arzan Nagwaswalla 3-40) versus Gujarat.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 9:48:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ranji-trophy-semifinal-gujarat-vs-saurashtra-day-1/article30951047.ece

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