While most of the world is busy celebrating Christmas, the Ranji Trophy ensured there would be no shortage of entertainment on the field on the first day of another set of matches.
India’s Shikhar Dhawan announced his comeback with a century while Jalaj Saxena put Kerala in control against Gujarat, in a game where 20 wickets fell on the opening day. Mumbai with Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane in the side failed to get their act going as well against Railways.
Shikhar Dhawan Scores Ton Return
Leading Delhi, Dhawan needed to put in a good show after being out for a while. The southpaw said he had not forgotten how to bat and while the rest of the top order could not fell cheaply around him, Dhawan kept going at his end. The India opener played 198 deliveries to remain unbeaten on 137 as the likes of Anuj Rawat (29) and Nitish Rana (25) made healthy contributions too. Delhi ended the day on 269/6.
Wickets Galore in Gujarat-Kerala
With Kanthan Patel (36) looking solid at the top of the order, Gujarat, who had to exclude Jasprit Bumrah at the eleventh hour, were looking for a good start. But Jalaj Saxena and co and had very different ideas as they kept picking wickets at regular intervals. Saxena finished with five while KM Asif picked two.
Seemingly in control Kerala’s otherwise strong batting lineup were at sea against Roosh Kalaria, who picked four wickets and Axar Patel who finished with three to skittle them out for 70. Kerala’s lineup registered six ducks, to give Gujarat a 57-run lead on day 1.
Tamil Nadu Bundled Out Cheaply Again
Playing with R Ashwin this time, Tamil Nadu had their backs to the wall early on as they lost two quick wickets. Sridhar Raju (43) and Baba Aparajith (61*) added some sense of respectability to their total after Ishwar Pandey’s six wicket haul broke the back bone of TN’s batting. TN were bundled out for 149 raising eyebrows about their batting problems.
The bowlers however fared slightly better as they picked three top order wickets of the Madhya Pradesh lineup to leave them in a spot of bother as well with the score at 56/3. T Natarajan took two wickets for Tamil Nadu.
Shaw and Co Hand Railways the Advantage
The much hyped Mumbai batting lineup took strike first with Prithvi Shaw and Jay Bista. The young Shaw departed first for 12 and Ajinkya Rahane followed for 5. Suryakumar Yadav top scored with 39, while T Pradeep took a six wicket haul and along with Amit Mishra’s three wickets skittled out their opposition for 114.
Mumbai responded with five wickets of their own when the bowlers were in charge but Arindam Ghosh played a solid hand and remained unbeaten on 52 along with captain Karn Sharma who had 24 to his name. The Railways ended the first day two runs ahead of their opposition and will look to capitalize on Day 2.
Advantage Himachal Pradesh Against Karnataka
In another game where the bowlers had a field day, Karnataka’s big guns failed to make an impact. Mayank Agarwal was dismissed for a first ball duck while Devdutt Padikkal played five deliveries more. Karun Nair scored 81 and steered his side to 166 even as Kanwar Abhinay’s five-for engineered a massive collapse.
Himachal, in response, followed the same style of batting and lost three quick wickets in the first hour of their innings. Priyanshu Khanduri remained unbeaten on 14 as Himachal ended the day at 29/3.
Mizoram – 73, Puducherry – 286/3
Haryana – 274/6 vs Jharkhand
Uttarakhand -117, Odisha – 98/3
Bihar – 260/5 vs Goa
Sikkim – 269, Nagaland 45/1
Vidarbha – 166/6 vs Punjab
Saurashtra – 322/8 vs UP
J&K – 59/1 vs Assam
Maharashtra – 238/6 vs Chattisgarh
Tripura – 126, Services – 23/2