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Rajasthan make a slow but steady start

india Updated: Jan 12, 2011 00:13 IST
Amol Karhadkar

With only two of the 22 players featuring in the tie having played a Ranji Trophy final earlier, it was expected that hosts Baroda and Rajasthan would start the most important domestic tie of the season on a cautious note on Tuesday.

No wonder then that with the visitors garnering 198 for the loss of three wickets at stumps on Day One at the Motibagh ground, both the teams were even going into the second day.

Had it not been for a momentary lapse of concentration by Rajasthan skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (61) towards the fag end of the day's proceedings, Rajasthan would had their nose ahead at the end of the opening day. But it wasn't to be as the veteran southpaw nudged one from offie Aditya Waghmode on the backfoot to offer Connor Williams a sharp catch at first slip to help Baroda get back into the game.

Robin Bist (56 batting) then saw off the remaining four overs along with nightwatchman Vivek Yadav (4 batting) to avoid any further damages.

The day, however, started off with a surprise as Baroda skipper Pinal Shah chose to field on a dry track that offered little help to the bowlers. The move seemed to be backfiring completely as in-form Aakash Chopra (34) and Vineet Saxena (31) dug in.

Just as it looked like Rajasthan would go into lunch with a clean slate, Aakash Chopra missed a sweep and was plumb in front off Bhargav Bhatt's left-arm spin in the penultimate over. And the first ball after lunch saw Saxena run out in bizarre fashion, which raised Baroda's hopes of justifying their decision. However, Kanitkar and Bist avoided further damages, scoring at a snail's pace.

Since the wicket was slow and offered little for bowlers, Baroda sat back and preferred to wait for a batsman's mistake rather than attacking the left-right combination.