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Ranji Final: Pujara Dismissed for Duck as Saurashtra Falter in Chase

The 206-run target looks a long way away for Saurashtra, bidding for their first ever Ranji Trophy title. The target slipped further away in a matter of five deliveries in the third session of the fourth day’s play in the Ranji Trophy final.

Cricketnext Staff |February 6, 2019, 5:29 PM IST
Ranji Final: Pujara Dismissed for Duck as Saurashtra Falter in  Chase

The 206-run target looked a long way away for Saurashtra, bidding for their first ever Ranji Trophy title. The target slipped further away in a matter of five deliveries in the third session of the fourth day’s play in the Ranji Trophy final.

Saurashtra’s talisman Cheteshwar Pujara walked into bat facing another crisis at 22/2 against a pumped up Vidarbha team. Left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate picked up the biggest scalp of the season and possibly his first-class career when he trapped Pujara leg-before for a duck in the second innings.

The visitors ended the fourth day on 58/5, still needing another 148 runs to take home the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy crown. After Pujara’s dismissal, Umesh Yadav joined the party, drawing an edge off Arpit Vasavada (5) to reduce Saurashtra to 35/4.

Sheldon Jackson, the last specialist Saurashtra batsman, went for an ugly looking slog off Akshay Wakhare. The ball kept low and missed Jackson’s bat to hit the stumps.

Saurashtra No. 3 Vishvaraj Jadeja is the last remaining hope for his team, as he remained unbeaten on 23 off 68 with all-rounder Kamlesh Makvana for company.

On an increasingly crumbling track at the Jamtha stadium in Nagpur, Sarwate is proving to be handful, having picked up first three of the Saurashtra wickets.

First innings centurion Snell Patel was the first one to walk back for 12, edging the left-arm spinner to Wasim Jaffer at first slip.

Young opener Harvik Desai followed Snell back in Sarwate’s next over — the eighth of the innings — getting a leading edge back to the bowler before the big wicket of Pujara off the final ball of the same over.

Earlier, it was Sarwate who gave the defending champions a target to bowl with his dour innings of 49. The all-rounder’s 133-ball knock helped the home side battle back from 73/5 in the first session.

Sarwate, first in the company of young Mohit Kale (38) and then the lower-order, kept rival left-arm tweaker Dharmendrasinh Jadeja at bay. Jadeja, the highest wicket-taker for Saurashtra this season, claimed 6/96 to give his team a fighting chance of winning this final.

Resuming at 55/2, Jadeja got the prised scalp of Vidarbha’s highest scorer for the season Wasim Jaffer for 11. Ganesh Satish, who was promoted to No. 3 in the second innings, got an inside-edge off Jadeja three balls later and Vidarbha had slipped to 72/4.

Like Saurashtra’s tail-enders in the first innings, Vidarbha’s lower-order also frustrated the visitors. Sarwate came in at 105/6 with the lead at just 110 and defended stoutly on a track that was not only slow but offered appreciable bounce to the spinners.

While Sarwate defended, Umesh Yadav came out and swung around the willow for 15 off 12 and put on 31 crucial runs for the ninth wicket.

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