Ranji Trophy Final: Snell Patel's 87 keeps Saurashtra in the hunt

After dismissing Vidarbha for 312 in its first innings at the VCA ground here, Saurashtra lost three wickets by tea.

Snell Patel scored an unbeaten 87 to take Saurashtra to 158/5 at stumps.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Saurashtra wicketkeeper-batsman Snell Patel stood out with a handsome fifty as the visitor ended day two of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 final at 158/5.

After dismissing Saurashtra for 312 in its first innings at the VCA ground, Saurashtra lost three wickets by tea. 

Harvik Desai (10, 9b, 4x2) was the first man to fall to slow left-arm orthodox bowler Aditya Sarwate, who claimed three wickets to put Vidarbha on top. He trapped Desai and Vishvaraj Jadeja (18, 72b, 4x1) in front of their stumps before setting up big man Cheteshwar Pujara.

The India No 3 looked vulnerable and shaky as he played out 11 balls for just 1. Sarwate pitched it on the middle to spin it away faster than Pujara’s feet. He couldn’t get his bat out of the way, and Wasim Jaffer usually doesn’t drop many at first slip.

Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare threw his hat in the ring to dismiss Arpit Vasavada (13, 40b, 4x1) and Sheldon Jackson (9, 23b, 4x1) to push Saurashtra into a corner with over an hour left for stumps.

As it happened

Vasavada failed to ride the bounce and the ball touched his glove to gift Jaffer his second catch of the day. Jackson was also outdone by Wakhare’s spin and bounce to offer a sitter to wicketkeeper Akshay Wadkar.

Patel, unbeaten (87, 160b, 14x4), got a reprieve in the 46th over. He was on 75. The Wakhare delivery had touched his glove before reaching the short leg fielder, but umpire Anil Chaudhary remained unmoved.

Surprisingly, Umesh Yadav – another India international in the crucial fixture – didn’t get a wicket. But the right-arm fast bowler proved economical with five maidens for 17 runs in 13 overs. Rajneesh Gurbani remained wicketless as well.

Vidarbha innings

In the first session, Vidarbha batsmen Akshay Karnewar (73 n.o; 160 b, 8x4, 2x6) and Wakhare (34, 78b, 4x3) batted for 144 minutes to stitch a 78-run stand for the eighth wicket to repair the day one damage.

The host scored 112 runs more to add to the overnight score of 200/7. 

Saurashtra left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya provided the much needed breakthrough in the 113th over. A savage in-swinger went through Wakhare’s bat and pad to uproot the middle-stump; a rare sight in today’s cricket. 

READ: Ranji Trophy Final: Pujara lasts 16 minutes, 11 balls to score 1

Tail-ender Yadav (13, 18b, 4x3) found some bonus runs before Jaydev Unadkat stole an edge off his bat to dismiss him caught behind. Off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana finished the proceedings by cleaning up Rajneesh Gurbani (6, 8b, 4x1).

Prerak Mankad (16 n.o; 39b, 4x2) will resume Saurashtra's innings on day three, along with Patel.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 312 all out (A Karnewar 73 n.o.; A Wadkar 45; J Unadkat 3/54, C Sakariya 2/44); Saurashtra 158/5 (S Patel 87 n.o.; A Sarwate 3/55, A Wakhare 2/42) at stumps on day two.