Ranji Q/F: Gujarat on top after a dominating display

Odisha was bundled put fpr 199, and Gujarat reached 246/3 at the end of the day to get itself closer to the semifinals.

Samit Gohel celebrates after scoring a century.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

There was no Christmas cheer for Odisha as Gujarat looks all set to march forward into the semifinals, after putting up a dominating display in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Sunday.

After bundling out Odisha for 199 and taking a first innings lead of 64, Gujarat tightened the noose by reaching 246 for three at the end of third day, it was a professional performance by Parthiv Patel and his team.

Much of the reconstruction of the team — that had struggled at 71 for six in the first innings — was done by the openers Samit Gohe, who remained unbeaten on 110, and the 1000-run man of the season Priyank Panchal, who miscued a drive and got out for 81.

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The openers put on 149, after Jasprit Bumrah had helped Gujarat wipe out the Odisha tail earlier with a five-wicket haul.

Gujarat took just over four overs to finish the business in the morning, taking the last two wickets of Odisha, allowing them to add only 15 runs to its total.

It was a delightful performance by both the openers for Gujarat, as they toyed with the bowling, timing their shots and entertaining the sparse but vociferous crowd. The only blemish was when Panchal who has struck four centuries in the season so far, including a triple and a double century, mishit his only lofted drive in the whole innings, off left-arm spinner Dhiraj Singh, to be caught at deep mid-off. Panchal struck 14 fours in his 116-ball knock.

It was 14 fours for the 26-year-old Gohel who was scoring his third first class century, and he faced 291 balls for his unbeaten 110.

With two more days left in the match, the pitch did offer a lot of life to bowlers who were willing to bend their back, as Basant Mohanty showed by letting the bails fly for Rujul Bhatt at the fag end of the day.

But, the day belonged to Gujarat.