Sijomon Joseph scalped five wickets as Kerala found its second win of the Ranji Trophy season, defeating Team Rajasthan by 131 runs at the St. Xavier’s-KCA cricket ground, Thumba, on Friday.
Set with a target of 343, following the declaration of the Kerala second innings (overnight 217 for 2) at 250 for four--effected by its skipper Sachin Baby--Rajasthan was never in the picture through the remaining part of the day before being bowled out for 211 in the 9 mandatory over.
Sanju Samson, who had looked ominous with a well-made 72 on Thursday evening, failed to add anything more and with centurion Jalaj Saxena keeping him company, it was Sachin Baby who helped Kerala to get to the 250 mark with a quick fire 30 (off just 16 deliveries).
And what more Kerala really got right on top straight away as Sandeep Warrier with a delivery that stopped before coming in got rid of A. V. Gautam caught at slips. M.D. Nidheesh, his new ball partner, taking cue struck at the other end to send Rajasthan reeling for 0 for 2 as he scalped Dishant Yagnik, caught by Karthick at slips, off his very first delivery.
Thus leaving Robin Bist and R.K. Bishnoi with the arduous task of building up the Rajasthan reply. True that the duo did their best in the given situation, engaging themselves in a 64-run partnership for the third wicket.
Bishnoi (35) was left off by Sijomon Joseph behind of square off Saxena and as one thought it would prove to be a costly lapse of Kerala, the left-arm spinner introduced into the attack made suitable amends.
The young India under-19 player off his first delivery got rid off Bishnoi caught at silly point by Vishnu Vinod and four balls later also accounted for Ashok Menaria who forced to play on the backfoot was caught plumb leg before.
It was Bist and Mahipal Lomror who helped the tottering Rajasthan to stage at least a semblance of a fight back taking their team without any further damage through lunch and near to the tea break. The duo were involved in a 96-run stand but with Bist (70) finally castled by Jalaj Saxena, Rajasthan again was to lose wickets in a heap. Joseph, playing only in his second match, finished with a haul of five for 84.
Saxena, the hero of the first three days, had bowled 21 overs before gaining his first wicket but by finishing with figures of 2 for 62, still had a match haul of 10 for 147. Kerala following its second win gained six points for a tally of 12 from three matches as against Rajasthan’s four also from the same number of games.
Kerala will meet Jammu & Kashmir here from November 1 to 4.
Kerala 1st innings: 335. Rajasthan - 1st innings 243. Kerala 2nd innings 250-4 declared (Jalaj Saxena not out 105). Rajasthan 2nd innings 211 (Robin Bist 70, Mahipal Lomror 53; Joseph 5-84)