Jay Chauhan: "The pitch was slow and tough to bat on"

Debutant Jay Chauhan was the pick of the bowlers for Saurashtra snapping up seven wickets.

Snell Patel (left) and Prerak Mankad of Saurashtra.   -  Special Arrangment

It all went according to plan for Saurashtra in its penultimate game here, except for a brief period of batting insanity on the fourth day that, to its relief, did not affect the final result that went in its favour. More importantly, the win came on the back of some impressive performances from youngsters that augurs well for the future.

If it were Snell Patel and Prerak Mankad with the bat in the first innings that laid the foundation of a strong total, debutant Jay Chauhan was the pick of the bowlers with seven wickets. “The pitch was slow and it was tough to bat on in the fourth innings, there was a lot of help to the spinners. But we also played rash shots. Karnataka is a great team and they have very good bowlers. I guess it was a combination of some very good bowling from them and some poor batting from us that caused the collapse,” the 24-year old Chauhan said after the game.

Asked what the Saurashtra spinners did differently that made them more effective vis-a-vis the Karnataka bowlers, Chauhan had a simple answer. “All you had to do was stick to the right line and length and the pitch would the rest. The ball may turn, swing, move, anything – the pitch was very helpful. All you had to do was cut out any fancy stuff and stick to the basics,” he said but added that it was perhaps just a one-off game since Karnataka bowlers were too experienced to not know it.

Mankad, who got his maiden first-class century, was still coming to terms with not only that fact but also the team's maiden win and his being Man of the Match. “I am still trying to digest the whole thing,” the 22-year old admitted after seeing the team through. The fact that, unlike other centres, Saurashtra doesn't have a big academy culture -- “we play age-group cricket and learn from our seniors only, they always motivate us,” Mankad, who idolises Cheteshwar Pujara, said – only makes it easier for the youngsters to get comfortable and find their space in the team.

“There is a hunger in him to score big, get a lot of runs. That's what I like the most, that's what makes me tick too,” he added.

For Karnataka, however, the fightback from its spinners in the fourth innings was a huge positive. “That's how a champion side is made, all 16 in our dressing room are matchwinners. We planned quite a bit before going in for the 2nd innings and we thought of not repeating our mistakes. We didn't bowl great in the 1st innings, that's very clear, not in areas we were supposed to.

“That said, we have been bowling mainly on flat tracks this season and it takes some getting used to to a turner. We could have got used to it faster, yes. But we have almost 40-45 wickets in six games as a spin unit, that speaks volumes. We tried a few new things, new combinations and if you look at our second innings bowling, you can see there is no lowering of morale or loss of momentum,” Gowtham K. said.

Karnataka captain Vinay Kkumar admitted that the team's batting was a let down but was satisfied with the bowling in the second innings. “Of the three spinners, two are youngsters. You need to give them time to learn a bit but they are doing well and I am happy they came to the party and will only get better,” he said.

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