At first sight, Luv Ablish doesn’t look threatening. With an average height and thin frame, he can lure batsmen into a false sense of security. But the lithe Punjab medium-pacer doesn’t take long to jolt them out of complacency, making the ball reach much quicker than expected and catching them by surprise.
He gave a glimpse of this against Bengal earlier and, on Friday, he gave it full expression, going on to pick his first five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy. In the process, he dismantled Gujarat to restrict them to 208.
As if not wanting to waste the headstart the bowlers had given, Punjab openers saw off the last 12 overs of the day with 25 runs on the board.
Earlier, Ablish got down to business with the new ball soon after skipper Pankaj Dharmani won the toss. He and Gagandeep kept the Gujarat openers tied before forcing Akash Christian to edge one to the slips. A couple of over later, Luv had Nilesh caught behind. Other bowlers also chipped in and Gujarat were soon five down with just 83 runs on board. Bhavin Thaker was the lone survivor, finally falling for a well-made 85.
Punjab, on the other hand, might feel they let Gujarat get away with more than they would have liked. It’s now it’s up to the batsmen to make use of the bowlers’ efforts.
Gujarat (1st innings): Modi c Dharmani b Ablish 11, Christian c Gupta b Ablish 5, T Patel b Sharma 13, P Patel lbw b Malhotra 5, N Patel lbw b Ablish 29, Thaker c Kaul b Malhotra 85, Damani b Ablish 8, Watekar c Dharmani b Singh 24, Makda run out (Goel) 0, Majmudar c Gupta b Ablish 14, Singh not out 0, Extras (lb 4, nb 10) 14
Fall of wkts: 1-12, 2-18, 3-23, 4-67, 5-83, 6-105, 7-136, 8-163, 9-202.
Bowling: Singh 16-7-20-1, Ablish 18-4-40-5, Malhotra 15.5-4-50-2, Sodhi 7-1-35-0, Sharma 18-1-49-1, Goel 1-0-10-0.
Punjab (1st innings): Ricky batting 10, Goel batting 9, Extras (lb 4, nb 1) 5
Total: 24 for no loss
Bowling: Makda 5-1-9-0, Majmudar 3-0-11-0, Singh 2-2-0-0.