Parthiv Patel continued to impress with his captaincy; a young bowling attack responded to its captain’s requirements. Still, the Rest of India batsmen would be ruing missed opportunities, which has forced their team in a corner in the Irani Cup tie.
At the end of the second day’s play at the Brabourne Stadium, Rest of India was stuttering at 206 for nine, 152 runs behind the Ranji Trophy champion Gujarat’s first innings total of 358.
While Manoj Tiwary would be feeling hard done by umpire Virender Sharma adjudging him lbw off debutant Mohit Thadani when the ball may have been going over the stumps, Abhinav Mukund, who was brilliantly caught in the slips by Samit Gohel – and Wriddhiman Saha – who had no answer to one from debutant seamer Mohit Thadani that pitched outside off and came in sharply – were dismissed due to brilliance in the field.
The other specialist batsmen, however, would be disappointed for missing out on getting a big score in one of the most important fixtures in the calendar. Opener Akhil Herwadkar dabbed left-arm spinner Hardik Patel, who bowled a long spell of 25 unchanged overs, straight to Dhruv Raval at forward short-leg. Karun Nair played the wrong line, thus inside-edging Chintan Gaja to Parthiv behind the stumps. And Kuldeep Yadav missed a straight ball from Hardik late in the day to trigger a late-order collapse that saw Rest of Indoa lose four wickets for a solitary run.
The only RoI batsman who spent some quality time at the crease was captain Cheteshwar Pujara. The No. 3 batsman, during his 221-minute stay, looked in solid nick. While his steers off Hardik through the third-man region were a treat to watch, the highlight of his innings came with a spanking cover drive off Gaja early in his innings. However, even Pujara played a rash pull late in the day to miss out on a deserving century.
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