Ranji Trophy Final: Unadkat, Sakariya late show frustrates Vidarbha

After Snell Patel’s first ton of the season, Jaydev Unadkat scored a fighting 46 to leave Saurashtra only five runs short of Vidarbha’s first innings total of 312.

Snell Patel celebrates after reaching his hundred.   -  Vivek Bendre

Eight wickets in hand, a 60-run lead and two days to spare. Vidarbha hadn’t expected these numbers on day three that strangely brought the batsman out of Saurashtra No. 10 Jaydev Unadkat and No. 11 Chetan Sakariya.

The tail-enders stitched a 60-run partnership in 162 balls for the 10th wicket. Saurashtra fell short of Vidarbha’s first innings total of 312 by only five runs.

Vidarbha ended the day at 55/2.

Losing two wickets in the last session pushed the host on backfoot at the VCA ground.

As it Happened

Dharmendrasinh Jadeja’s slow left-arm spin cleaned up skipper Faiz Fazal 10 off 45 and then, it got Sanjay Ramaswamy 16 off 72 (4x1) stumped cheaply; substitute keeper Avi Barot did a fine job by collecting the floating delivery to dislodge the bails.

Snell survives scare

Regular keeper Snell Patel, who scored a hundred earlier in the day, had taken an Umesh Yadav bouncer on his helmet. He had left the field to get an MRI scan done. Reports were normal.

Promoted up the order, Ganesh Satish 24* off 45 (4x1, 6x1) approached Saurashtra with a positive intent. The right-hander announced his arrival with a six off Jadeja. He used his feet beautifully to go inside and out.

He didn’t let the attacking Jadeja get into his head at all. In the next over, he came down the track to hit a boundary straight over the bowler’s head.

Vidarbha had a couple of close shaves. Sakariya had pinned Fazal on the front pad in his first over, but umpire Anil Chaudhary was unmoved. Kamlesh Makvana dropped Ramaswamy off his own bowling in the 18th over.

Saurashtra innings

The great Richie Benaud had once said, “any captain can only do his best for the team and for cricket. When you are winning, you are a hero.” Saurashtra skipper Unadkat and Sakariya owned the game for 117 minutes with only a wicket in hand.

Their stay at the crease led to bonus runs and it turned the tide. Saurashtra’s first innings journey – from 158/5 to 247/9 to 307 all out – had a lot of drama.

Unadkat kept it simple. His innings 46 off 101 (4x4) was laced with sweep shots and quick singles. Sakariya 28* off 82 (4x4) held his ground and braved the powerful bowling attack.

Earlier in the day, Patel 102 off 209 (15x4) – the only Saurashtra batsman who had a free flow to his innings – completed his first hundred of the season.

He perhaps would have continued for a longer time had it not been for the Yadav bouncer in the 69th over. It made him tad defensive and he ended up nicking one to Akshay Wadkar behind the stumps.

Makvana 27 off 61 (4x3) and Jadeja 23 off 32 (4x2, 1x6) played their shots for a healthy stand of 38 runs. Veteran Wasim Jaffer claimed four catches at first slip.

Slow left-arm orthodox bowler Aditya Sarwate, who dismissed big fish Cheteshwar Pujara on day two, registered his fifth five-for in the season.

Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare had four wickets to his name. Batting on 5 off 24 balls, Jaffer will be the key on day four along with Satish.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 312 & 55/2 (G Satish 24*; D Jadeja 2/36) leads Saurashtra 307 (S Patel 102, J Unadkat 46; A Sarwate 5/98, A Wakhare 4/80) by 60 runs