It is not often that a crowd turns on its home players. Their sole intention for arriving at the ground was to see Virender Sehwag bat for as long as possible, and the Karnataka players were berated if they tried to change the intended script.
The 1,000-odd spectators present at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium got their wish, as Sehwag blasted his way to a 170-ball 136. Given that this is the Haryana batsman's first match since announcing his retirement from international cricket, the hundred became all the more valuable.
Sehwag walked in, to loud applause, at 18 for one. After leaving his first ball, off pacer H.S. Sharath, the second was carted to the cover fence. It was off to the races. A couple of deliveries later, a thick edge evaded a diving Robin Uthappa at third slip, prompting a fan to scream: “Thank you, Uthappa!”
Chants of “Viru, Viru” rang through the ground every time Sehwag took strike.
Sehwag entered the 90s with an effortless straight six off Shreyas, and the Mysuru faithful could barely contain their excitement as the century mark neared. They did not have to wait for long, as Sehwag, on 99, tucked one through square-leg. His 42nd first-class hundred was recorded in 119 balls.
The home team employed a more defensive line to counter Sehwag from here on. The spinners bowled outside leg, while the fast men kept it well outside off. It eventually paid off, when Sehwag moved across to cut a short, wide ball from Mathias. The shot was fierce, just like many that had come off his bat before, but Manish Pandey pulled off a blinder at point.
Jayant Yadav, who had kept Sehwag company for nearly 50 overs, also registered a century, but his innings was relegated to little more than a footnote. Jayant (100, 173b, 11x4, 1x6) looked thoroughly compact, even if he benefitted from three tough dropped catches in the slips cordon. A hat-trick for pacer Sharath, late in the day, went largely unnoticed as well.
Chants of “We want Viru!”, however, continued to come from a crowd that was desperate to see Sehwag roll back the years once again.
Sudip Chatterjee help Bengal dominate
Aided by Sudip Chatterjee's hard-earned unbeaten hundred, Bengal gathered 272 for three in its first innings to be nicely placed on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy Group A match against Delhi at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi on Thursday.
Sudip and captain Manoj Tiwary were left with the task of reviving the innings. Sudip must thank his stars for surviving the first session, in which he almost got himself played on in consecutive overs of Parvinder Awana and Pradeep Sangwan. On 22, the southpaw was also dropped by Nitish Rana in the second slip off Sumit Narwal.
After getting set, Tiwary (55, 126b, 6x4, 1x6) played some beautiful shots, including a six over long-on and a four through cover off a Manan over. He overtook Sudip to reach his 22nd half-century before falling to a brilliant catch by debutant Delhi wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant in Sangwan's bowling.
Sudip's (108 batting, 226b, 10x4) knock was a perfect tale of grit and survival. He built another century stand with Wriddhiman Saha (67 batting, 111b, 9x4, 1x6) and their unbeaten partnership enabled Bengal to strengthen its position and aspire for a huge total.
Andhra restricts Uttar Pradesh
Andhra completed day one on a high note by registering 77 for no loss in 24 overs after restricting Uttar Pradesh to 170 in 61.5 overs in the Group ‘B’ Ranji tie at PDCA-CSR Sarma College grounds in Ongole on Thursday.
Andhra opener K.S. Bharat (56 batting), who scored brisk half century, frustrated the rival attack with his partner D.B. Prasanth denying the breakthrough. India international Praveen Kumar bowled 12 overs on the trot with his probing length for an early wicket but in vain.
At 52 for 4, Uttar Pradesh was on tatters. But the arrival of Praveen Kumar brought some stability to the team as, he, together with opener Tanmay Srivastava (42) steadied the innings. He made a quick-fire 47 embedded with three fours and two sixes and forged a 65-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Srivastava, who, despite the fall of wickets at the other end dug himself resolutely but his 230-odd minute ended when he failed to measure a Siva delivery perishing behind the wicket.
Second ton for Panchal; Railways claws back
A second century in eight days from Priyank Panchal was instrumental in Gujarat reaching 286 for six on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy league fixture against host Railways here on Thursday.
With the Karnail Singh Stadium pitch playing true, the right-handed opener batted for the better part of the day to score 141, hitting a six and 17 boundaries. Panchal’s fifth century in the National championship followed his 105 against Punjab.
Rajasthan vs Maharashtra (Jaipur): Rajasthan 258 for five (Ashok Menaria 84, Rajat Bhatia 59; SM Fallah 2-58).
Assam vs Vidarbha (Nagpur): Assam 206 (Amit Verma 57, Syed Mohammed 69; Umesh Yadav 4-49, Akshay Wakhare 4-47) vs Vidarbha 1 for no loss.
Bengal vs Delhi (Delhi): Bengal 272 for three (Sudip Chatterjee 108 batting, Manoj Tiwary 55, Wriddhiman Saha 67 batting).
Karnataka vs Haryana (Mysuru): Haryana 319 for eight (Virender Sehwag 136, Jayant Yadav 100, H.S. Sharath 4-47).
Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh (Patiala): Madhya Pradesh 251 for five (Aditya Shrivastava 105 batting, Jalaj Saxena 70).
Baroda vs Mumbai (Vadodara): Mumbai 317 for three (Akhil Herwadkar 67, Shreyas Iyer 167 batting, Suryakumar Yadav 66 batting).
Railways vs Gujarat (Delhi): Gujarat 286 for six (Piyush Panchal 141, Parthiv Patel 58).
Uttar Pradesh vs Andhra (Ongole): Uttar Pradesh 170 (Tanmay Srivastava 42, Praveen Kumar 47) vs Andhra 77 for no loss (KS Bharat 56 batting).
Saurashtra vs Hyderabad (Rajkot): Saurashtra 102 (Sagar Jogiyani 51; Mehdi Hasan 5-43, Vishal Sharma 4-30) & 10 for no loss vs Hyderabad 148 (Sumanth Kolla 41, Ravindra Jadeja 6-75, Kamlesh Makwana 4-23).
Services vs Kerala (Palam): Kerala 198 for two (V.A. Jagadeesh 59, Rohan Prem 79 batting).
Himachal vs Goa (Dharamsala): Goa 265 for seven (Sagun Kamat 124 batting, Snehal Kauthankar 74, Rishi Dhawan 5-86).
Tripura vs Jammu & Kashmir (Agartala): Jammu & Kashmir 303 for four (Mithun Manhas 96, Parvez Rasool 129 batting).