Ranji Trophy: Gujarat restrict Saurashtra to 217/5 on day 1
Led by Arzan Nagwaswalla’ three wickets, Gujarat bowlers produced a disciplined show and restricted Saurashtra to 217 for five on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal Saurashtra on Saturday.
For the hosts, only Sheldon Jackson (69 not out) was able to convert his start at the SCA stadium.
Initially, it seemed Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel’s decision to put Saurashtra in backfired, but the bowlers made a splendid comeback and pegged the hosts back on two occasions.
Saurashtra openers Harvik Desai (35) and Kishan Parmar (37) gave the hosts a sedate start and negated the early challenge well, especially the questions posed by medium pacer Chitan Gaja (0-42).
Parmar got a life when he was caught off a no ball and then he survived a few thick edges. Gujarat missed another chance as Roosh Kalaria dropped Parmar on 36. Despite the reprieves, Parmar couldn’t convert his start and was cleaned up by left-arm spinner Axar Patel (2-47). The openers added 62 runs for the first wicket.
Avi Barot (27) then joined Desai as Saurashtra took lunch at 87 for one.
However, post lunch Gujarat bagged two wickets in two overs. First, Desai departed after being caught by Bhargav Merai off medium pacer Nagwaswalla (3-40), and in the very next over, Barot played recklessly and was caught by Dhruv Ravel, as the hosts slipped to 102 for three.
Then, Vishwaraj Jadeja (26) and senior pro Jackson, steadied the ship and lifted Saurashtra to 160 for three at tea.
But, right after tea, Nagwaswalla grabbed two wickets in two balls to leave Saurashtra tottering at 162 for five. Jadeja edged to Parthiv and senior pro Arpit Vasavada was caught by Rujul Bhatt. His double blow brought Gujarat back into the game.
The fall of wickets did not bother Jackson, who stood firm at the other end. He hammered nine boundaries and two towering sixes in his unbeaten knock. He also found an able allay in Chirag Jani (16 not out) as the two rebuilt the innings with their unbroken 55-run stand.
Saurashtra 217/5 (Sheldon Jackson 69 no; Kishan Parmar 37; Arzan Nagwaswalla 3-40) versus Gujarat.