Ranji Trophy: Jharkhand batsmen dominate Day Two

The side from East that had advanced beyond the league stage for the first time, seemed to have taken control of the proceedings before a reckless shot by Ishan Kishan gave a slight advantage to Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the VCA facility at Civil Lines.

India ODI captain M.S. Dhoni trained with the Jharkhand team before the start of play, had a net session during lunch time and used the VCA academy’s gym in the post tea session.   -  PTI

Jharkhand manipulated the second new ball with a great deal of discipline to reap rewards in the first session on Monday, after which its batsmen went in hot pursuit of Gujarat’s first innings score of 390 scoring at a dynamic clip of a little over four runs and over. The side from East that had advanced beyond the league stage for the first time, seemed to have taken control of the proceedings before a reckless shot by Ishan Kishan gave a slight advantage to Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the VCA facility at Civil Lines.

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The 18-year-old Kishan first took the spinners, Rujul Bhatt and Hardik Patel apart and then fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah; the quick dismissals of left handers Virat Singh and Saurabh Tiwary did not deter him from playing his natural game. Hitting the big shots appeared child’s play to him, but he truly fitted into the saying `live by the sword and die by the sword.’ His 58 ball 61 with nine 4s and three 6s, was a counter attack that unnerved the Gujarat bowling to an extent, but skipper Parthiv Patel and his teammates eventually had the last laugh when a leading edge of his bat, aiming for an on-side shot of left arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh, landed into the hands of Bumrah at wide mid off.

Kishan’s partner Ishank Jaggi who blocked for much of his 101 minute occupation of the crease, lifted left arm spinner Hardik Patel in a rare show of aggression, but the dismissal of Kishan some ten minutes before stumps would have hurt Jharkhand, which added 128 runs in the post session. Jharkhand needs another 177 runs to take the lead, but it getting closer to Gajarat’s first innings total will largely hinge on Jaggi’s ability to farm the strike with the lower middle order and tail.

The post tea session saw the pitch become almost a featherbed, but fortunately for Jharkhand, only after its seamers Ajay Yadav and Shukla had bowled done the damage to Guajarat. It took a while though for Jharkhand to make the first breakthrough, almost half an hour to separate the overnight fourth wicket pair in Priyank Panchal and Manpreet Juneja. Either of them could have been dismissed run out before Yadav got the ball to pitch around of the off side corridor and evoke an edge from Panchal on forward play. Kaushal Singh did not make a mistake at second slip. Soon, Yadav sent back Juneja, also nicking to second slip, but this time to Virat Singh.

Gujarat’s innings declined from a formidable–looking 293 for 3 to 324 for 7 before R.P. Singh struck some big blows to make an attractive 40. Yadav and Shukla ended up with three wickets apiece as Gujarat folded up nine minutes after lunch, adding a mere 107 to its overnight score. Clearly the words of advice from M.S.Dhoni appears to have worked wonders. India’s captain for non-Test internationals, Dhoni trained with the team before the start of play, had a net session during lunch time and used the VCA academy’s gym in the post tea session.

After restricting Gujarat to under 400, Jharkhand lost the wicket of Sumit Kumar in the first over to R.P.Singh, but opener Partyush Singh, Virat Singh and Tiwary made their intentions clear to go after the bowling. They maintained a terrific tempo, before Kishan, coming to bat at No. 6, lifted off spinner Rujul Bhatt for two sixes and flicked Bumrah beyond the long leg fence. It all looked flashy and Kishan paid the price for not being a little smart.