Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Gujarat, Kerala set up early, exciting finish

Kerala openers Vishnu Vinod and Jalaj Saxena did an admirable job to make 26 runs in fading light as the Ranji Trophy fixture in Surat headed for an early finish.

Kerala's Basil Thampi, who took five for 56 in Gujarat's second innings, celebrating a dismissal on the second day of the Ranji Trophy match in Surat on Thursday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Kerala openers Vishnu Vinod and Jalaj Saxena did an admirable job to make 26 runs in fading light as the Ranji Trophy fixture  at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium on Friday headed for an exciting - and early - finish.

In a low-scoring match, on a wicket that encourages both seamers and spinners — with batting not easy in the overcast conditions in the opening session — the odds are usually against the side batting last.

So Gujarat would be fairly confident of stopping Kerala short of the 268-run target, but the latter has depth in its batting line-up to conjure a surprise victory. Much could depend on how the Kerala batsmen negotiate the first session.

If Kerala could survive the opening two hours and a half without losing too many wickets, the afternoon could produce some fascinating cricket.

As it happened| Ranji Trophy, Round 3: MP dominates TN, Mumbai on the back foot

Kerala’s target would have been a lot less though, but for an astonishing onslaught by Gujarat’s No. 10 batsman Chintan Gaja. He made 50 not out off just 47 balls (3x4, 3x6) and added as many runs for the last wicket with Siddharth Desai, who scored nought off 13 balls.

A five-wicket haul by Basil Thampi – his second in First-Class cricket -- had reduced Gujarat to 160 for nine before Gaja took the attack to the opposition.

READ| Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Ishant four-for leaves Hyderabad reeling

The seamer had taken a while to find the right length, though. He was bowling far too short before finally bowling fuller.

His wickets included those of Manprit Juneja, whose 53 is the highest of the match thus far, Priyank Panchal and captain Parthiv Patel. The home batsmen though had got the best conditions of the game yet: a delayed start (because of the solar eclipse) meant they didn’t have to play in the overcast conditions of the morning.

They had resumed their second innings at the overnight one for no wicket. On the first day, as many as 20 wickets had fallen, but that wasn't entirely due to the pitch though; it had more to do with the conditions and excellent bowling from both sides.

  Dugout videos