Saurashtra batters complimented their bowler’s superb performance on Day 1 by securing a comprehensive lead of 143 runs at stumps on the second day in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Friday.
Arpit Vasavada (81*) and Sheldon Jackson (59) ensured that Saurashtra grasped a firm grip over Bengal ending the day at 317/5, dampening their chances to stage a comeback in the Ranji finals. Opener Harvik Desai played a half-century knock while Chirag Jani remained unbeaten on 57 at the stumps on Day 2.
Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel were the only Bengal bowlers to make it to the wicket’s column as they scalped two wickets each.
Saurashtra resumed their overnight inning of 81/2 with nightman Chetan Sakariya getting dismissed early in the day. Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar removed Desai after he reached his fifty to create an opening to get back in the game.
However, Jackson and Arpit put on a pivotal 95-run stand for the fifth wicket to ensure Bengal were unable to claw its way into the game. The former was dismissed for 59 runs, trying to take the attacking route.
Saurashtra lost no further wickets as the sixth wicket partnership of Arpit and Chirag could not be breached by the Bengal bowlers.
While Chirag was the aggressor in the stand, Arpit played second fiddle and made sure that the Bengal bowlers were mad to toil hard. The pair shared a 113-run stand to put their team ahead in the final.
The Jaydev Unadkat-led side seems close to their second title in three seasons and when that happens, it may be a suitable reward for both Saurashtra and one of their favourite sons, Cheteshwar Pujara, who is celebrating his own unique century in New Delhi against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Brief Score: Saurashtra 317/5 (Vasavada 81*, Jackson 59, Jani 57*; Ishan Porel 2-72) vs Bengal 174 (Shahbaz 69, A Porel 50: Sakariya 3-33, Unadkat 3-44) (ANI).