Thu. Feb 9th, 2023
Saurabh’s all-round show gives Rest of India firm control

saurashtra 98 and 49 for 2 (Jadeja 8*, Jani 3*, Saurabh 2-0) course Rest of India 374 (Sarfaraz 138, Vihari 82, Saurabh 55, Sakariya 5-93) with 227 runs

Left arm spinner Saurabh Kumar struck out at fifty before returning to take two wickets as Rest of India tightened the noose around Saurashtra on the second day of the Irani Cup match in Rajkot.

Saurabh broke ten boundaries in his 78-ball 55 and added 71 with Jayant Yadav for the seventh wicket to bring the Rest of India close to the 350 mark after Sarfaraz Khan dominated the opening day by a century. Saurabh’s innings helped Rest of India extend their lead in the first innings to a solid 276 runs.

The 29-year-old from Uttar Pradesh then returned to sack both Saurashtra openers – Harvik Desai and Snell Patel – as Rest of India gained further ascendancy in the match.

By stumps, Chirag Jani and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja were in first place with Saurashtra, the champions of the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy, 49 for 2 in 17 overs, still trailing 227.

Previously, left-arm sailor Chetan Sakariya Saurashtra gave a glimmer of hope with a five-wicket haul when they knocked Rest of India away for 374 in 110 overs.

Sakariya broke four wickets on Sunday, befitting the one scalp he took on opening day, after Chirag Jani knocked out overnight batters Hanuma Vihari (82) and Sarfaraz (138) in the first session.

After dominating opening day, Rest of India kicked off day two at 205 for 3, with skipper Vihari and centurion Sarfaraz batting for over an hour, adding a further 33 runs to their overnight partnership. However, both left in quick succession and Jani made the breakthroughs.

Jani first had Vihari caught by Harvik Desai before trapping Sarfaraz lbw in his opening spell to reduce Rest of India to 239 for 5 in the 65th over.

Then it was a Sakariya show as he pulled KS Bharat with a full throw after coming around the wicket and causing an edge which was caught by Desai.

After the tie between Jayant and Saurabh, it was Sakariya back in action when he cleared the first with another full pitch that held his line outside the off-stump and gave the batter a lead.

The 24-year-old pacer then managed to get a top edge off Saurabh’s blade, who went for a pull despite not being in position, but was caught by Snell. Sakariya then completed his five-for as he sent back Mukesh Kumar with Prerak Mankad making a sensational catch that dove across the trench area.

Kuldeep Sen was the last batter to be eliminated, in the form of a run-out.

After a dismal at bat in the first innings, much was expected from Saurashtra and opening duo Desai and Snell did well to see Mukesh and Sen’s new ball spell.

However, Saurabh, who didn’t pitch in the first innings, gave the batters a hard time after he was introduced in the 11th over. He produced four consecutive maiden overs, breaking both openers.

While Snell fired one straight at Sarfaraz on cover, Desai got an outside edge and Vihari, on the first slip, held the catch after the ball hit the keeper’s thigh and was deflected.

Earlier in the day, Mayank Agarwal was rushed to hospital for a precautionary scan after being hit on the head with a pitch just before the start of Saurashtra’s second innings. The incident happened as Mayank was on his way to his fielding position when a high throw from one of the fielders landed right on his head.

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