Ranji Trophy: Jharkhand takes first innings lead

After Ishank Jaggi curbed his usual attacking instincts to score 129 in nearly five hours (15x4, 1x6) to give his side a first innings lead of 18 runs, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem captured three quick wickets in the last session to raise hopes of a Jharkhand entry into the championship final for the first time.

Shahbaz Nadeem picked up three wickets for 36 runs to hand Jharkhand the advantage.   -  PTI

Jharkhand put up a competitive performance for the second day running in the Ranji Trophy semifinals against Gujarat at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground here on Tuesday.

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After Ishank Jaggi curbed his usual attacking instincts to score 129 in nearly five hours (15x4, 1x6) to give his side a first innings lead of 18 runs, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem captured three quick wickets in the last session to raise hopes of a Jharkhand entry into the championship final for the first time.

Tough for Gujarat

With two more days to go and a maximum of 180 overs possible, the onus is now on Gujarat to press hard and turn things around from the fourth day.

The fall of skipper Parthiv Patel and Samit Gohil in the last half hour on the third day were two big blows from which Gujarat may find it difficult to recover and post a challenging target for Jharkhand.

When play resumed, the overnight unbeaten pair of Jaggi and Rahul Shukla hit boundaries, finding the gaps as the ball raced to the fence more often than not.

No lateral movement

Though the pitch had a good coating of green, the lack of moisture underneath did not allow much scope for the three Gujarat seamers — Jasprit Bumrah, Rush Kalaria and Rudra Pratap Singh — to find appreciable lateral movement. Bumrah, though, worked up speed and extracted lift and was a trifle unlucky not to get a wicket in his opening burst of the day.

Furthermore, Jaggi’s determined approach and solid defence with the main objective of taking his team’s first innings score close to Gujarat’s sustained the contest between the bat and ball when the seamers operated. But, the spinners were not up to the mark, erring in line and length.

The sixth wicket stand produced 69 runs after which Kaushal Singh, who began the season with a century against Maharashtra, scored a brisk half-century. Jharkhand added 194 runs to its overnight 214, with Jaggi scoring his 15th First Class century.

Vikash’s fine effort

Gujarat made a cautious start to its second innings, but a fine fielding effort from Vikash Singh from deep cover resulted in the run out of Priyank Panchal.

The second wicket pair of Gohil and Bhargav Merai soon looked to set things right by scoring at three runs an over. Even as the confident pair appeared to be watching the ball well, Nadeem produced a superb arm ball to bowl Merai.

Thereafter Parthiv stepped out and played a feeble shot to short mid-wicket and Gohil was trapped plumb in front as Gujarat finished the day 82 runs ahead.