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Ranji Final Set For Exciting Showdown After See-saw Third Day

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 5, 2019, 7:30 PM IST
Ranji Final Set For Exciting Showdown After See-saw Third Day

(Wasim Jaffer/ PTI)

A fine rearguard action from Saurashtra’s tailenders on Wednesday has set-up the prospect of a thrilling final two days in the Ranji Trophy final at Nagpur. Vidarbha ended day three on 55/2, with an overall lead of 60 runs, but that could have a lot more if not for some defiance from Saurashtra's last three batsmen.

Struggling at 184/7, the game seemed to be headed Vidarbha's way before Saurashtra's final three wickets added 123 runs to the total to bring their side tantalisingly close to taking the first-innings lead, but ultimately fell short by 5 runs - being dismissed for 307.

Captain Jaydev Unadkat scored 46 and was well supported by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (23), Kamlesh Makvana (27) and Chetan Sakariya (28).

Snell Patel completed a fine ton - his first of the season and second overall - but was accounted for by Umesh Yadav (1/59) early in the day. Aditya Sarwate removed Prerak Mandak for 21 and at that stage, it seemed Vidarbha would take a healthy first innings lead.

However, Makvana stitched a vital 48-run partnership with Jadeja before Unadkat and Sakariya added 60 runs for the final wicket.

Vidarbha tried everything, attacking with spin and pace but failed to get any breakthroughs. Jadeja struck two boundaries and one six, while Unadkat continued to hold one end up. Akshay Wakhare then induced him to edge one to Wasim Jaffer at first slip - who took four catches in the game. Makvana and Unadkat put on a 25-run stand for the ninth wicket, before Sarwate complete his five-for by removing Makvana, with Jaffer again taking a sharp catch.

Sakariya then provided great support as the two kept on ticking the scoreboard to get Saurashtra ever so close to Vidarbha's first innings total of 312. He registered his career-high score of 28, with Cheteshwar Pujara cheering on every run from the dressing room.

It seemed Saurashtra would scrap past the total but Wakhare provided the vital breakthrough, removing Unadkat for 46 much to Vidarbha's relief.

Though unlikely at this stage but in case the game ends in a draw, Vidarbha would be declared winners based on their first innings lead.

They started the second innings quite passively, with openers Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Rangaswamy looking to play out time.

However, Jadeja removed both of them cheaply, with Faiz Fazal departing for 10. The captain looked to play the sweep shot but moved his front leg far outside the off-stump and saw his stumps rattled behind him.

Rangaswamy, who played 72 balls for his 10 runs, was beaten by some sharp turn and was stumped by the wicket-keeper, with Jadeja again providing the breakthrough.

Ganesh Satish, who walked in at No. 3 and looked to play some aggressive shots remains unbeaten on 24 along with stalwart Jaffer, who is batting on 5. Vidarbha ended the day at 55/2.
First Published: February 5, 2019, 5:52 PM IST

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