Ranji Trophy Final Highlights: Vidarbha takes first-innings lead in see-saw battle

At stumps on Day Three, Vidarbha has a lead of 60 runs, with eight wickets in hand in the second innings.

Snell Patel scored a century for Saurashtra in the first innings.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

END OF DAY THREE

Vidarbha 312 and 55 for 2 leads Saurashtra 307 (Snell Patel 102, Jaydev Unadkat 46, Aditya Sarvate 5 for 98, Akshay Wakhare 4 for 80) by 60 runs.

5.02 pm: Vidarbha has the first-innings lead, but it's still anybody's game. The last-wicket partnership between Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya has brought parity to the topsy-turvy contest.

It looks set for an exciting finish. Join us for Day Four, on Wednesday. Till then, it's goodbye.

5.01 pm: The final over of the day, bowled by Jadeja, is safely negotiated. It's stumps.

4.53 pm: 50-up for Vidarbha. There is a sense of calmness about Jaffer. The two batsmen — Satish and Jaffer — work the ball around to collect singles.

4.37 pm: Jadeja gets his second wicket. Sanjay comes down the track and tries to defend, but the ball goes past him and by the time he grounds his bat in the crease, it's too late. The substitute wicketkeeper A. Barot has dislodged the bails in time. Vidarbha 45 for 2.

Wasim Jaffer is the new batsman.

4.32 pm: Unadkat is back to bowl his fifth over. He has fielders all around the batsman, but Sanjay safely negotiates the over. It's 44 for 1.

4.27 pm: A loud shout for lbw by Jadeja, but it's not out. Sanjay the batsman. It was a full delivery; Sanjay tries to play a defensive stroke and the ball hits the pad. It strikes him well below the knee-roll as well. But the umpire doesn't think it's out; he gestures to the excited Saurashtra players to calm down.

4.19 pm: Satish comes down the track to loft Jadeja one again, this time straight over his head. It's a four.

4.11 pm: Makwana misses a caught-and-bowled chance to allow Sanjay to survive. Getting to the pitch of the delivery, Sanjay drives the ball hard; it comes straight at the bowler, above his shoulder, and bursts through his hands. Makwana gets a bandage applied on one of his fingers.

 

4.07 pm: Satish comes down the track and lofts Jadeja over long-off for a six. It hits the rope on the full. A rare shot of belligerence.

 

3.58 pm: Jadeja bowls a delivery that is full, and wide outside the off-stump. Fazal bends his knee and plays a flourishing drive through extra-cover for a couple of runs. Jadeja's next delivery has the same trajectory, but a different line. This time, it is a full delivery on middle-stump; Fazal tries to play the sweep, the ball turns and hits the stumps behind him. He's out for 10.

Ganesh Satish is the new batsman.

3.51 pm: Sanjay suffers a twisted ankle while returning to his crease, having been sent back by Fazal at the non-strikers' end. He gets medical help, and it's drinks.

Here's Wriddhaayan, our reporter: It is anybody’ game but the advantage would lie with Saurashtra for the 162-ball grind in 117 minutes for the 10th wicket partnership of 60 runs between Unadkat and Sakariya.  Unadkat, the leader, is stepping up in every game. A national recall is not too far away it seems.  Vidarbha is taking it slow now. It would want to play out the overs than do anything silly at the moment.

3.46 pm: Runs come in a trickle. It encourages Jadeja to flight his deliveries, hoping to entice the batsmen. Fazal plays a rare improvised stroke, a paddle-sweep to the fine-leg region, for a single. After 13 overs, it's 13 for 0.

3.43 pm: Spin from both ends now. Left-arm orthodox spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja's first over is also a quiet one.

3.36 pm: A reprieve for Fazal. He digs out a full delivery by Makwana with the motion of a drive. The ball touches the bottom of his bat, and nearly carries on the full to Makwana, who dives to his right but in vain. The wicketkeeper and the slip fieldsman have their hands on their heads. In the same over, Fazal stays back to defend a delivery that turns and hits his left pad. The impact was just outside the off-stump, as indicated by the umpire.

3.27 pm: Spin introduced. Off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana comes on to bowl. He bowls an overpitched delivery; R. Sanjay pounces on it, driving it through extra-cover for the first boundary of the innings.

3.23 pm: A maiden over bowled by Unadkat. A short mid-on fielder, stationed near the non-striker, has been placed for Fazal.

3.18 pm: Six quiet overs have been bowled. The batsmen are intent on leaving balls outside off-stump to go through to the wicketkeeper. It's 4 for 0. Lead is 9.

3.01 pm: A loud shout for lbw by Sakariya, but the umpire shakes his head. The ball, angling into the left-handed Fazal, pitches outside the off-stump line, and hits him just below the knee-roll, within the zone of the three stumps. Saurashtra's fielders are disappointed. It looked a close call.

2.56 pm: Unadkat bowls a delivery angling away from the right-handed R. Sanjay, and it narrowly misses the edge on its way to the wicketkeeper. Only one run, taken by Faiz Fazal, is scored in the first over of Vidarbha's second innings.

2.34 pm: It's tea, on Day Three.

2.30 pm: Unadkat falls prey to the sweep, and the first-innings lead is Vidarbha's. Unadkat can't keep it down; it's caught by the square leg fielder. Wakhare the bowler.

If the contest ends in a draw, Vidarbha will be declared the winner owing to the first-innings lead.

It may have ended in heartbreak, but it had been a dogged fight by the last pair. Unadkat fell four short of a half-century. Our reporter Wriddhaayan informs us Sakariya's 28 is his highest score in first-class cricket.

2.24 pm: Wakhare grimaces twice in his 19th over, for valid reasons. Sakariya gets an outside edge; the ball travels through the legs of the slip fielder - Wasim Jaffer - for a boundary. It was a drop, too. Later, Sakariya gets an inside edge and this time, it bounces just in front of the short-leg fielder, and also goes through his legs. A single is taken. Unadkat, off the last ball of the over, plays a sweep for another single, and Saurashtra trails by just six now.

2.19 pm: Unadkat stretches forward to defend a delivery from Sarvate, and smother the turn. He misses it, and the alert wicketkeeper dislodges the bails upon collecting the ball. It's not out, as Unadkat had his right foot firmly rooted inside the crease. 300 for 9, Saurashtra trails by 12 runs.

 

2.14 pm: 300-up for Saurashtra, with a quick single taken by Unadkat. He plays a sweep off Wakhare. In the earlier over bowled by Sarvate, Sakariya survives a leg-before-wicket shout. The ball had turned sharply; having pitched outside off, it came back in to the left-hander and hit his knee-roll. The umpire ruled it not-out.

Our correspondent at the venue, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya says: The Unadkat-Sakariya pair has managed to survive for 77 minutes. The partnership for the 10th wicket is 47 runs. Every run is being cheered for; Pujara has been clapping for every run too. He is out in the dressing room balcony. Saurashtra trails Vidarbha by 18 runs.

1:45pm Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya have been comfortable since lunch, though they have added only nine runs in thirty-plus minutes of play so far. Vidarbha's lead is now 19.

 

12:30pm Jaydev Unadkat has been very positive (he is unbeaten on 34 runs off 52 balls) and, in the company of Chetan Sakariya, has stitched a 37-run unbeaten partnership for the 10th wicket, taking Saurashtra to 284 for nine at lunch on Day 3, still trailing Vidarbha by 28 runs. The morning session was extended by 30 minutes since the last-wicket pair was in the middle. But Unadkat and Sakariya have run hard between the wickets and found the boundary whenever a loose ball has been on offer, taking advantage of the in-out field deployed by Faiz Fazal.

Our correspondent from the venue, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya says: After playing a few smart shots, including a reverse sweep, Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat seems to be in a bit of pain. He gave himself room to slice a Sarwate delivery and hurt his shoulder in the process. These are bonus runs for Saurashtra, it will be looking to narrow the lead as much as it can. With just a wicket in hand, there is not much the visitor can do at the moment.

11:53am OUT! Kamlesh Makvana falls for 27, Akshay Wakhare picks up his third wicket. An over-pitched delivery finds the outside edge with Makvana looking to drive through the offside, and Wasim Jaffer takes the catch at first slip. Saurashtra 247 for nine, trailing by 65 runs.

 

11:25am OUT! A stunning catch from Wasim Jaffer at first slip to dismiss Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Aditya Sarwate has a five-for. Jadeja looked to play the late cut past the slip fielder, but he couldn't keep his shot down and the ball flew quickly off his bat, but Jaffer gets his hands in the right position quickly and holds on comfortably. Saurashtra 226 for eight. Captain Jaydev Unadkat has walked in to bat.

11:05am Dropped! Akshay Karnewar induces a loose shot from Kamlesh Makvana, who gets an outside edge and the ball flies fine and to the left of Wasim Jaffer at first slip. The veteran goes with his left hand out but the ball doesn't stick.  Saurashtra 194 for seven.

 

10:42am OUT! Snell Patel falls soon after reaching his century (102). Umesh Yadav has his first wicket of the match. Patel plays away from his body at a wide, full delivery, gets an outside edge and Akshay Wadkar takes a sharp low catch. Saurashtra 184 for seven, still trailing by 128 runs. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja is the new batsman in.

Our correspondent from the venue, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya says: Finally, after a gruelling 45 minutes on day three, Sarwate provides the much-needed breakthrough. This is the time when Vidarbha’s score of 312 may look like a mountain to climb. It was a slower delivery through the air and Prerak Mankad plays the wrong line. Trapped! Kamlesh Makvana is the new man in.

10.29am CENTURY! Snell Patel brings up his century, the second of his first-class career and the first of this season. He sweeps Akshay Karnewar fine and the 15th four of his innings takes him to the landmark.

10:13am OUT! Aditya Sarwate picks up his fourth wicket and provides Vidarbha its first wicket of the third morning. He traps Prerak Mankad with an arm-ball. Mankad misread the flight of the ball and played back, but the ball was fuller and hits him low on his front pad. He is out for 21, Saurashtra 173 for six. Kamlesh Makvana is the new batsman in.

9:58am Prerak Mankad has copped a couple of painful blows from Umesh Yadav in the opening half-hour. The first time he was struck on his left shoulder trying to duck a bouncer which didn't climb as much as he thought. The second blow is on his right thumb, this time because of extra bounce. Saurashtra is 166 for five, trails Vidarbha by 146 runs.

9:30am Aditya Sarwate begins proceedings on Day 3. Saurashtra tails Vidarbha by 154 runs with five wickets in hand.

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Honours were shared on Day 2 with Saurashtra reaching 158 for five after Vidarbha had made 312 in the first innings, thanks to an unbeaten 73 from Akshay Karnewar. For Saurashtra, Snell Patel has held the innings together with his unbeaten 87 after Aditya Sarwate had helped Vidarbha reduce it to 81 for three. Akshay Wakhare was the other wicket-taker for Vidarbha, which will eyeing a first-innings lead. (Day 2 report)