Rajkot, Mar 11 (GCSports) Aiming to win the glittering Ranji Trophy for the first time, Saurastra were on the driver seat after scoring 425 runs in the first innings and set up a huge task for Bengal in the final play at the Saurastra Cricket Association Stadium here, thanks to Arpit Vasavada’s brilliant 106.
The host resumed their first batting at 384 for loss of eight wickets, they picked up valuable 41 runs in remaining two wickets today.
Bengal got an early wicket through pacer Akash Deep but the last wicket stand between skipper Jaydev Unadkat ( 20) and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (33 not out) frustrated the visiting side The duo added 38 runs and more
importantly forced the fielders to labour in the sun before batting.
Saurashtra have posted a mammoth total and have kept the opposition out in the field for a very long time, over two days in the five-day play.
Earlier 31-year-old left handed Arpit Vasavada set the tune for Saurastra’s big total as he hit his successive ton in country’s top tier play with 106 before being stumped by wicketkeeper Wriddiman Saha off Shabaz Ahmed.
Arpit had scored a century in the previous semifinal play against Gujarat and Unadkar 7 wickets haul put the hosts into the final for 4th time in eight years.
But the silverware for Saurastra is still illusive and this time may fructified if they restrict Bengal under 400 in the first knock. Cheteshwar Pujara and Arpit Vasavada gave a huge boost in defensive batting with a five-hour partnership on day two, taking Saurashtra to a strong position in their Ranji Trophy final on Tuesday.
Their 142-run stand off 380 balls wore down the opposition who had a slight edge after reducing Saurashtra to 206 for five on the opening day. Pujara (66 off 237), who was on five when he retired hurt on day one due to fever, and Vasavada (106 off 287) batted for two sessions and five overs as the hosts reached 384 for
eight at the close of play.
On day two, the hosts managed 178 runs in 79.1 overs for the loss of three wickets. Shahbaz Ahmed today ended Saurashtra innings straightaway with Jaydev Unadkat’s wicket, but the 38 runs the last-wicket pair added could come back to bite Bengal. Saurashtra’s 425 is a steep task for Bengal in what should be a first-innings-lead game.
Bengal pacers Akash Deep ended with 4/98, followed by Shabaz Ahmed 3/103, Mukesh Kumar 2/103 and Ishan Porel 1/51.
Bengal made 16 runs in their first innings so far