In the three knockout ties that they have played so far, including the Plate League semi-final that elevated them to the Super League for the next season, Rajasthan piled up at least 550 runs in their first innings.
Though Baroda managed to restrict Rajasthan to under 400 on Wednesday, regaining the Ranji Trophy is going be an uphill task for the hosts. At the end of the second day’s play in the final, Baroda, in reply to Rajasthan’s 394, were 76 for the loss of veteran Connor Williams.
Though Williams’ opening partner Jaykishan Kolsawala looked solid and Kedar Devdhar overcame the jitters created by a pair in last week’s semifinal against Karnataka to negotiate the last half-an-hour, a deteriorating track will make life difficult for them and the rest.
The wicket started turning from the first session and as the day progressed, the ball started bouncing unevenly, keeping low at times. This would mean that despite lacking a quality spinner, Rajasthan might make life difficult for a largely inexperienced Baroda lineup.
More importantly, the hosts will find it hard to chase even a small target in the fourth innings in this five-day match.
But Baroda can draw some inspiration from their bowling unit led by Bhargav Bhatt.
Despite losing the overnight batsmen in the first session, Rajasthan, who batted at a snail’s pace on the opening day, had added 120 runs in the opening session.
Nightwatchman Vivek Yadav and Robin Bist not only saw off the new ball that was taken in the first over after Rajasthan resumed at 198 for three, but also kept the scoreboard moving. Both fell to Bhatt, Yadav a touch unlucky to have been given leg-before with the ball sliding down, and Bist fell to a dream delivery for a left-arm spinner that pitched outside leg and knocked down the off stump.