Success, no matter how little, can do wonders to one’s confidence. Wriddhiman Saha, whose assured 35-run effort in the Adelaide Test appeared gigantic in the midst of an all-round failure, used the small dose of confidence in notching up a fine hundred against North Zone in the Duleep Trophy semifinal. Saha looked compact during his unbeaten knock as East Zone ended Day One at 258 for four.
He proffered his front foot as and when required and used his feet well on a batting track that would, at times, get two-paced. Besides, he handled the rising balls well, an ability, he admits, he acquired in Australia.
“Handling bounce is the most important thing I learnt there.”
Though Ferozeshah Kotla, notorious for its low bounce, isn't the place to test his newly-acquired skill. Few deliveries, though banged in short, rise steeply enough to trouble batsmen, as was witnessed in North Zone’s bowling that lacked bite most of the time.
Towards the end, Pradeep Sangwan was just ambling in, and Harshal Patel struggled to find assistance that helped him pick wickets during the Ranji Trophy. Only Parwinder Awana could extract something from the placid track.
East were reeling at 60 for 3 when Saha joined Ishank Jaggi (86). Rajat Bhatia, with his dibbly-dobblies that moved both ways, scalped two while Awana yorked one. Clearly, East’s initial objective looked the one that has made first-class cricket boring — to bat long and win on the basis of first innings’ lead. They took 30 overs to reach 60, before Bhatia and Awana injected some life into the contest with breakthroughs.
Saha then walked in, and punched a couple of strokes through covers. The tenacity in those drives showed his thoughts weren't clouded. The same shot later took him to his hundred. Jaggi, with a crouching stance, too began to play freely and the two put on 194 for the fourth wicket. East made 69 in first session but got 191 in the next two.
Brief scores: East Zone 258/4 (W Saha 100 not out, I Jaggi 86, R Bhatia 2/41).