Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s coverage of Day 1 of the Irani Cup. This was Lalith Kalidas bringing you the updates.
27 overs, 139 runs and two quick wickets late in the Day. RoI has piled on the runs at an amazing rate and has seized the momentum on the opening day. A sensational 371-run stand between Abhimanyu Easwaran (154) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (213) is undoubtedly the highlight of the day.
Avesh Khan takes the second new ball.
Avesh to Jaiswal, OUT! “Finally something for the home team MP,” says Dipak. “Avesh Khan their best bowler strikes with the new ball.”
Saurabh Kumar in as nightwatchman. Avesh to Saurabh, OUT!Easwaran is run out at the striker’s end! Dipak adds: Nightwatchman Saurabh Kumar plays on the off-side and starts off for a run. Abhimanyu is short of his crease and walks off. Abhimanyu is dismissed for a well-made 154. A superb direct hit from Saransh Jain. In comes Baba Indrajith in at 5.
Yashasvi Bhupendra Jaiswal 213(259) b Avesh Khan; Saurabh Kumar 0(1) Run Out Saransh Jain
Another SIX! Jaiswal dances down and clobbers Saransh over long-on for a maximum.
Easwaran sweeps Kartikeya for a FOUR through mid-wicket and falls to the ground with cramps. 150 up for the Bengal batter off 227 balls.
Abhimanyu started off the day as the aggressor of the two and has gone in the background pretty much since tea, adds Dipak before he resumes batting.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Abhimanyu Easwaran record the first 350-plus partnership in Irani Cup history.
Double hundred for Yashasvi Jaiswal off just 230 balls! He late cuts a wide delivery from Shubham to get to his 200
Jaiswal is rampaging towards a double hundred. He has upper-cut the pacers and slashed them through point viciously to storm to 196 off 229 balls!
Dipak with the best view of it all: It is that kind of day for MP. Jaiswal just put away two good deliveries from Avesh Khan, who has been the best bowler on the day. A ball angling across that Jaiswal late cuts behind square and then uppercuts an attempted bouncer over the keeper. He didn’t even give width to flash. Just brilliant batting. To make things worse for MP, Jaiswal was dropped twice off three balls (on 176 and 181) by Yash Dubey. First, he dropped him at 2nd slip off Avesh Khan before he dropped him at first slip when off-spinner Shubham Sharma found the edge. both those chances went to the boundary
300-run partnership for Easwaran and Jaiswal. Both batters have contributed almost equally until Jaiswal stepped up on the pedal in the last few overs.
Three consecutive FOURs and 150 up for Jaiswal off 204 balls!
Dipak: Jaiswal just played two of the best shot of his innings hitting Ankit Kushwah down the ground. as classical as it will get as he moves to 151. He then slogs on through midwicket transferring the weight on to his backfoot.
In the air and short of cover! Easwaran makes room to slap Saransh through the off-side and some sloppy fielding from Aman Solanki at cover means he cannot stop a FOUR.
Jaiswal is on another level altogether. He nonchalantly flicks Anubhav off his pads over deep mid-wicket for a massive SIX - 250-run partnership between Jaiswal and Easwaran.
Centurions Easwaran and Jaiswal are back in the middle.
28 overs, 119 runs, no wickets. Easwaran and Jaiswal own another session as Madhya Pradesh seemingly run out of options. The batters have applied themselves superbly against spin and have taken Saransh Jain and Kumar Kartikeya to the cleaners.
Kartikeya continues to offer freebies. Wafts one into length and Jaiswal steps out and smashes the ball past him for FOUR.
Kartikeya tosses one into the slot and Easwaran dances down and pumps the ball over long-off for SIX.
Thwack. Jaiswal charges to length against Avesh and smothers him over long-on for a SIX. CHANCE! Another rising delivery and Jaiswal miscues his pull towards mid-on but it falls short.
Dipak: Yashasvi Jaiswal too gets to his hundred in style with a cracking backfoot punch through off-side
Jaiswal now has centuries on his Irani Cup and India A debuts besides a double hundred on his Duleep Trophy debut. He has also crossed 1000 First-Class runs in the 2022-23 season in just 17 innings.
200 up for Rest of India as runs come at 4 RPO! MP has looked hapless on the field all day.
Dipak from Gwalior: Abhimanyu Easwaran gets to his 100 in style as he moved from 91 to his landmark with a backfoot punch through covers before stepping down and hitting Saransh Jain over midwicket for a six.
This is Easwaran’s maiden Irani Cup century in just his second appearance. This is also his seventh hundred in 23 First-Class innings this season, averaging over 80 at the moment.
Relentless from Jaiswal. Anubhav maintains a back-of-a-length line and Jaiswal unleashes two exquisite backfoot drives through the off-side for FOURs and moves into the 90s.
Jaiswal and Easwaran are in complete command. Both batters look well on their way to big tons here unless a change in bowling works for MP. Anubhav Agarwal is returning to the attack.
Jaiswal continues to feast on boundaries. Shubham Sharma is into the attack and offers a loopy delivery outside the off-stump and Jaiswal punches it through cover for FOUR.
150 up for RoI in the 39th over. LOUD SHOUT as Kartikeya slides one to the pads as Easwaran attempts a flick. The umpire denies a wicket as the ball is sliding down leg.
Easwaran continues to punish Kartikeya. Nothing wrong with that delivery, pitching just outside the off-stump on length. Easwaran nimbly shifts to his right and cuts it through short third for FOUR. A paddle to follow and he finds two runs.
Misery for Saransh. He slides one to hit Easwaran high on the pads but the umpire is unmoved. Fends a delivery just outside the off-stump and Easwaran rocks back to make room and slash the ball through point for FOUR.
Easwaran and Jaiswal are back in the middle. MP would need an early wicket to claw back quickly.
A fine paddle from Easwaran and he guides Kartikeya for another FOUR. Quite an expensive spell (0/29 in four overs) from the left-arm spinner before LUNCH.
81-ball 50 for Yashasvi Jaiswal. Jaiswal has kept the spinners at bay with some attacking strokes on either side of the strip and has played an excellent hand behind Easwaran.
100 up for RoI as Jaiswal smears a short ball through cover for FOUR off Avesh.
FIFTY for Abhimanyu Easwaran as he slams Kumar Kartikeya for back-to-back boundaries. He has remained positive through the session and that has helped to counter the bowlers well. A single to follow and Jaiswal steps out to smoke the bowler for a massive SIX down the ground.
Avesh returns to the attack and continues to send in a slew of bouncers before pitching fuller. Jaiswal looks measured in his approach so far.
Fraction short from Saransh and Jaiswal delicately slices the ball behind square for FOUR. He moves to 28 off 58 deliveries.
Ankit overpitches and Jaiswal pummels the ball down the ground past the bowler for FOUR.
Jaiswal finds the boundary once against Saransh. Madhya Pradesh has failed to strike through enough despite assistance from the surface.
Off-spinner Saransh Jain tosses one outside the off-stump and Jaiswal shuffles to make room through the off and loft the ball over cover for FOUR. Positive from Easwaran as well as he steps out and flicks the ball through the square for two runs.
First change for MP. Ankit Kushwah comes in and starts off with a sharply incoming delivery that rises high onto Easwaran’s front pad. Superb response from Easwaran as he steps out and drives past mid-off for FOUR.
Avesh comes around the wicket and attacks Jaiswal’s stumps. He is yet to get off the mark but has remained solid in defence. Avesh switches sides and sends in a quick bouncer. A rash pull across the line but the ball flies over Jaiswal’s bat.
Avesh and Anubhav have put up a superb partnership with the new ball so far. Easwaran has struggled too, but has got himself to double digits. A forward short-leg and a silly point is in place for Anubhav.
Avesh to Mayank, OUT! Avesh’s persistence pays off. Mayank is undone by a bit of seam movement. The ball tails in and gently shapes away to clip the outside-edge to the keeper.
Mayank Agarwal 2(11) ct Himanshu Mantri b Avesh Khan
Anubhav Agarwal oversteps and concedes a no ball before Easwaran brings out a super-drive for FOUR.
Mayank Agarwal and Abhimanyu Easwaran open for Rest of India. Avesh Khan takes the new ball. A sharp line of attack has put Mayank in a tentative stretch with his footwork first up.
Rest of India: Mayank Agarwal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yash Dhull, Baba Indrajith, Upendra Yadav, Atit Sheth, Saurabh Kumar, Pulkit Narang, Navdeep Saini, Mukesh Kumar.
Madhya Pradesh: Himanshu Mantri, Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma, Arham Aquil, Aman Singh Solanki, Harsh Gawali, Saransh Jain, Kumar Kartikeya Singh, Avesh Khan, Anubhav Agarwal, Ankit Singh Kushwah.
TOSS: Rest of India wins toss, opts to bat
Toss, Playing XIs coming up shortly. Stay tuned.
Madhya Pradesh: Himanshu Mantri (c&wk), Yash Dubey, Harsh Gawli, Shubham Sharma, Akshat Raghuvanshi, Aman Solanki, Kumar Kartikeya, Saransh Jain, Avesh Khan, Ankit Kushwah, Anubhav Agarwal, Mihir Hirwani, Aryan Deshmukh, Arham Aqueel, Aryan Pandey
Rest of India: Mayank Agarwal (c), Sudip Kumar Gharami, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Harvik Desai, Mukesh Kumar, Atit Sheth, Chetan Sakariya, Navdeep Saini, Upendra Yadav (wk), Shams Mulani, Saurabh Kumar, Akash Deep, B Indrajith, Pulkit Narang, Yash Dhull.
Irani Cup: Madhya Pradesh vs Rest of India preview
Even as India and Australia prepare for the third Test in Indore on Wednesday, 500 km away from the Holkar Stadium in Madhya Pradesh, 22 players will take guard in one of the most prestigious competitions in Indian domestic cricket.
Madhya Pradesh, last year’s Ranji Trophy Champions (2021-22), will take on the Rest of India in the 58th Irani Cup tie here at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium.
While India will not play a lot of Tests this year after the current series against Australia, the tie allows the selectors to assess players like Rest of India skipper Mayank Agarwal, who topped the run charts with 990 runs.
The Karnataka opener was dropped from the national side last year and has since found form in domestic cricket. A good performance here could bring him back in contention for the World Test Championship final if India qualifies and the two Tests in West Indies later in the year.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Shams Mulani has replaced leg-spinner Mayank Markande, who injured his finger during training on Monday.
The contest will be a stern test for Madhya Pradesh, especially with the absence of a few key players like top-order bat Rajat Patidar and pacer Gaurav Yadav. Speaking ahead of the match, MP coach Chandrakant Pandit said, “The Irani Cup doesn’t often come in a player’s career, and the boys realise how big a game this is. You have to win a Ranji Trophy to be here.”
It will also be a special game for Pandit as he tries to replicate with MP what he did with Vidarbha twice by doing the Ranji-Irani double.
“Every coach and player wants to win every trophy possible, but I don’t get too excited and want to leave my process. We had a good season this year but lost in the semifinals. After working hard for 40-45 days, we missed out, but we have now been given a chance to get another title. That is how I look at it,” Pandit remarked.
The prestigious match comes when domestic players are gearing up for the IPL, but Rest India of India, coach Shitanshu Kotak, feels players are professional enough to give their best.
“They want to do well and know the selectors are watching. They have enough time to prepare for the IPL after this,” said Kotak.
While the Irani Cup used to be a vital tie and the stepping stone to the national team, in recent times, India A tours are seen as the gateway to a national call-up.
When asked if this match is still relevant, Kotak, who has been India A head and batting coach, said, “Irani has its charm. It is a five-day game. If you are part of a team picked from across the country, you have to do justice to that. It is another chance for players to perform well. Just because you have a few India A tours doesn’t mean it diminishes this match.”
- S Dipak Ragav