Slow flat wicket adds drama to Ranji final

Vidarbha all-rounder Akshay Karnewar expects spin to play its part gradually; Saurashtra coach Kotak feels his bowlers had intensity.

Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak feels keeping Jaffer quiet, for more than 100 minutes, worked in the side's favour.   -  Vivek Bendre

Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat had predicted the Jamtha wicket right on the eve of the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha. The pacer had anticipated a slow wicket. 

Though he lost the toss but the visitor made most of the pitch as it restricted the defending champion to 200-7 at stumps on day one at the VCA stadium.

Lower-order batsman Akshay Karnewar, who remained unbeaten on 31, reckons the wicket is “good for batting”.

“It’s just the first day. It’s a slow pata wicket. The ball will spin day by day. We committed errors while batting and got out wrongly,” said the left-hander, whose primary skill-set is slow left-arm orthodox.

READ: Ranji Trophy Final: Jaffer slips in happy hunting ground

“I am hoping the track will be good to bat on day two as well. There will be spin towards the end of the match,” he added.

Unadkat and his new-ball partner Chetan Sakariya bowled a consistent line in the first session which made life difficult for the Vidarbha batsmen. “We couldn’t do much. Their bowling was stump-to-stump. We were losing wickets.

“We want to play as longer as we can. And then get them out early too.”

The big three

Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak pointed that the early dismissals of Faiz Fazal and Wasim Jaffer, followed by Ganesh Satish, turned the game. 

“The bowlers had a lot of discipline and intensity. Getting Wasim and Faiz early was important. Satish also got out to a good delivery [caught by stumper Snell Patel off seamer Prerak Mankad].Those three players are their main run-getters,” he said.

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Kotak feels keeping Jaffer quiet, for more than 100 minutes, worked in the side's favour. “There was no set-up as such. The ball was nice. We restricted him a bit. He likes to play his shots [otherwise]. We held him back for sometime. The wicket also had a bit of damp initially.”

Saurashtra took the new ball pretty late but the coach said it was the “right time”.

“If we would have taken the new ball early, there would be nothing left for tomorrow. It is not a 150-200 wicket at all, so the bowlers did well.”