Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Ashok Menaria to the rescue again for Rajasthan

Ashok Menaria scored his second half-century in the contest against Andhra Pradesh as Rajasthan lived to fight another day.

Published : Jan 05, 2020 19:24 IST , Jaipur

Ashok Menaria scored 79 off 143 balls on day three for Rajasthan. (File photo)
Ashok Menaria scored 79 off 143 balls on day three for Rajasthan. (File photo)

Ashok Menaria scored 79 off 143 balls on day three for Rajasthan. (File photo)

Just as Rajasthan found itself falling behind on day three, a fighting performance from middle-order batsmen Ashok Menaria (79, 143b, 13x4) and Rajesh Bishnoi (49, 89b, 6x4, 1x6) lifted its spirit at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday. By stumps, Andhra had reduced the home side to 243 for 8 in its second innings, a lead of just 137.

Maneria’s dismissal in the final session restored the status quo after Andhra’s bid to consolidate its position was thwarted in the afternoon session. He edged K. V. Sasikanth to the slips where Hanuma Vihari, the captain, took the catch. Andhra’s fielders celebrated loudly, evidently glad to see the back of the batsman who had been a thorn in their flesh. Tailender Rituraj Singh fell soon after.

Picking up the pieces after Rajasthan had been reduced to 96 for 5 soon after lunch, Menaria and Bishnoi played assertively to provide some respite for the home side. Menaria was strokeful right from the outset, driving Sasikanth through extra-cover and flicking C. V. Stephen for a boundary mid-on early on in his innings.

Besides his regular strokes, he employed the lofted strokes as well, to get the runs. Bishnoi drove and cut the deliveries as well, and out of the blue, when all seemed to be going well for the duo, he was trapped lbw by a delivery from Stephen that pitched around leg stump and straightened.

Earlier, Yash Kothari (41, 125b, 4x4) and Robin Bist (30, 93b, 3x4) steadied the ship after a mix-up between Kothari and Mahipal Lomror resulted in the latter’s dismissal. Kothari and Bist were subdued for considerable periods but seemed assured in their defensive strokes and leaves. They survived some jitters as well; Kothari survived a loud and confident appeal for lbw when a delivery from off-spinner Mohammed Shoaib thudded into his pads. The opener went on to play a number of elegant strokes, including a steer through point and two fluid drives off P. Vijay Kumar.

Eventually Stephen got rid of Bist by inducing an edge off him to the slips, and Kothari was dismissed, too, leaving their side in tatters. It was up to the next pair to disallow the side from folding up quickly.


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