Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Gaja's five-wicket haul gives Gujarat domination

Chintan Gaja recorded his second five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy knockouts as Gujarat literally rolled over Goa on the third day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.

File photo of Chintan Gaja who recorded his second five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy knockouts.   -  Vivek Bendre

Chintan Gaja (5/19) recorded his second five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy knockouts as Gujarat literally rolled over Goa on the third day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.

Gaja wreaked havoc in Goa’s inferior line-up as it took Gujarat less than 42 overs in an extended morning session to pick the remaining eight wickets and wind up Goa’s first innings for a paltry 173. With a gigantic 429-run lead, instead of going for an early finish by making Goa follow on at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, Gujarat preferred to rub salt into Goa’s wounds by letting their out-of-form batsmen to get some runs ahead of the next week’s semifinal.

While Priyank Panchal (37, 58b, 6x4) wasted yet another start when he shouldered one from military medium pacer Suyash Prabhudesai to see his off-stump being uprooted, Samit Gohel (70 n.o., 143b, 9x4) and Bhargav Merai (49*, 89b, 5x4) then added 86 runs for the second wicket to help Gujarat end the day at 158 for one, with an unassailable lead of 587 runs.

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Even before the Gujarat openers had taken guard, Gaja and Co. had taken the academic interest out of the game. Gaja, who had marked his first-class debut with a six-wicket haul to star in Gujarat’s maiden Ranji final win in 2016-17, and Roosh Kalaria tied down overnight batsmen Amit Verma and Smit Patel — by bowling 23 dot balls on the trot. Once Verma fetched a boundary off a tentative punch off the last ball of the fourth over, runs started flowing for the next few overs.

However, Gaja broke the 72-run association by trapping Smit, and soon after the drinks break, Verma’s casual whip off Kalaria was well-judged by Axar Patel on the long-leg boundary.

An incredible collapse followed in the last half hour before lunch, with Gujarat picking five wickets for 8 runs in 32 balls — to leave Goa reeling from 137 for four to 145 for nine. There was an extension made to the first session. Fittingly, in the last over before the break, Gaja enticed last-man Vijesh Prabhudesai to edge one to Parthiv, who minutes earlier had become only the fifth wicketkeeper to record 300 dismissals in Ranji Trophy.

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