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Saurashtra hang on to take lead

Saurashtra crawled at less than two-and-a-half runs an over to cross the first hurdle of surpassing Rajasthan's paltry first innings score.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 12:23 IST
G Krishnan

On a boring day, Saurashtra crawled at less than two-and-a-half runs an over to cross the first hurdle of surpassing visitors Rajasthan's paltry first innings score. At stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Plate Division final at the Madhavrao Scindia cricket ground on Friday, the hosts were 250 for six, ahead by 49.

Saurashtra held the upperhand from the morning itself. Helping their cause was the unavailability of Rajasthan's left-arm spinner Mohammad Aslam.

Aslam missed the first half of the day owing to illness and was not given the right to bowl, as per the rules, on his return as he had to field for the same duration of time that he was off the field. Aslam has been Rajasthan's main bowler, having picked 19 sticks before coming here. By the time he joined the spineless attack, Saurashtra were already grinding their way to boredom. The cherry was blocked with all earnest by the Saurashtra batsmen and the only interesting phase on the day came from Saurashtra skipper and left-hander Jaydev Shah. The son of BCCI secretary, Niranjan Shah scored 51, before retiring hurt.

In order to evade a Pankaj Singh bouncer, Jaydev was hit on his neck and required medical attention. The handful of spectators were even thankful that Saurashtra's senior batsman Sitanshu Kotak, batting at number five, did not occupy the crease for longer than 133 minutes that he did to score only 10.

Saurashtra, resuming at 36 for no loss, built a strong foundation through the 85-run opening partnership between Kanhaiya Vaghela and Sagar Jogiyani. When the first drinks interval was approaching, Vaghela edged Shailendra Gehlot to give wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik the first of his five catches. Three overs later, Prashant Joshi fell in a similar fashion to Afroz Khan, the most successful bowler with three for 46. At 89 for two, Jaydev took strike and had to shoulder the responsibility of guiding his side past the opposition.

He did it with aplomb before being struck by Pankaj an hour after lunch. Former India under-19 batsman Nikhil Rathod (31) and left-hander Benson Songavkar (36 batting) frustrated the Rajasthan bowlers with useful contributions and taking Saurashtra to a healthy position.


Rajasthan 1st innings: 201

Saurashtra 1st innings (overnight 36 for no loss): Vaghela c Yagnik b Gehlot 34; Jogiyani c Yagnik b Afroz 58; Joshi c Yagnik b Afroz 0; Shah (rtd hurt) 51; Kotak c Yagnik b Kanwat 10; Rathod c Yagnik b Khoda 31; Songavkar not out 35; Dhruv lbw Afroz 6, Mokwana not out 8

Extras (LB-1, W-2, NB-14) 17

Total (for 6 wkts, 103 overs) 250

Fall of wkts: 1-85, 2-89, 3-109, 4-170, 5-211, 6-226

Bowling: Gehlot 28-6-78-1, P.Singh 27-6-73-0, Aslam 9-2-18-0, Afroz 19-4-46-3, Kanwat 12-5-19-1, Sharma 3-1-8-0, Jadeja 3-0-5-0, Khoda 2-1-2-1.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 01:03 IST