Ranji Trophy Final: Pujara lasts 16 minutes, 11 balls to score 1

India international Cheteshwar Pujara, playing the Ranji Trophy final for his state side Saurashtra, falls to Aditya Sarwate on day two.

Saurashtra's Cheteshwar Pujara lasted 16 minutes at the crease in the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha   -  VIVEK BENDRE

This is the moment Vidarbha had been waiting for. Cheteshwar Pujara is the man it has been planning for. The India No 3 lasted only 16 minutes to score 1 off 11 deliveries on day two of the Ranji Trophy final at the VCA ground here.

Slow left-arm orthodox bowler Aditya Sarwate threw his spinning tonk into the middle to catch the big fish in the 30th over.

READ: Sarwate: ‘I have seen Pujara a lot in the Australia series’

In the semifinal against Karnataka, it was Pujara who steered Saurashtra to victory with an unbeaten 131.

The bowlers are aware of Pujara’s vulnerability in the first 20 to 30 balls. Vidarbha had done its homework. 


How the innings panned out

As soon as Sarwate trapped Vishvaraj Jadeja 18 off 72 (4x1) in front of the stumps, the stadium started hooting for the man of the hour. With a slip and silly backward point in place and Saurashtra at 79/2, Sarwate resumed his spell.

1. The ball drifts in. Pujara steers it to the leg side.

2. Sarwate sets him up beautifully repeating the same ball, Pujara blocks.

3. This time, he keeps it a bit short. Pujara rises subtly and packs a punch through to the cover fielder. 

4. Sarwate tosses it up. Pujara steps out and plays it to mid-off.

5. He bowls a straight one now. Very well-planned and executed. Aware of the wrong’un, Pujara plays safe by pushing it to the forward short leg fielder.

6. Pujara blocks.

7. Another flighted delivery, Pujara jogs down to find the short mid-wicket fielder.

8. Umesh Yadav to Pujara: The man gets off the mark with a flick to fine-leg. (first run off eight balls)

9. Sarwate resumes: Pujara gets forward to play the tossed up delivery from good length. It drops in front of short leg.

10. This one cuts through the air and spins away; Pujara defends. The outside edge doesn’t carry to backward silly point.

11. OUT: Sarwate pitches it on the middle to spin it away. The ball moves faster than Pujara’s feet. He couldn’t get his bat out of the way, and Wasim Jaffer usually doesn’t drop many at first slip.

'Full points to the bowler'

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta, who is in the premises for TV commentary, broke the dismissal down for Sportstar. “Homework-wise, they were spot on. It is not an easy pitch to bat on when two spinners are bowling that well with the kind of field placement that they had. It was also a tricky time, 15 minutes before a break.

“The credit goes to Vidarbha bowlers, the management and the captain to create that environment. As soon as he came, there were three fielders —  a short leg, a silly point which was a lot finer and a slip. When Pujara comes into bat in domestic cricket, not all teams would apply that tactic. It was a great move to have extra people around Pujara,” he said.

Dasgupta, who had captained Bengal to two consecutive Ranji finals in 2005-06 and 2006-07, praised Vidarbha spinners Akshay Wakhare and Aditya Sarwate for their execution.

“They were fantastic. They actually utilised whatever was there on offer, on the surface. The line that Sarwate bowled [to dismiss Pujara] is one of those where you actually think twice. Pujara was a little tentative I thought whether to go in front or play on the backfoot.

"He played somewhere from the crease. If you can make someone like Pujara play from the crease, then full points to the bowler.”

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