Ranji Trophy Quarters: Saurashtra puts Andhra under the pump

The Jaydev Unadkat-led Saurashtra is close to securing the semifinal spot as it took a massive lead of 376 runs at the end of Day 3 against Andhra.

Jaydev Unadkat celebrates with team-mates after dismissing a Andhra batsman on day three of Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Andhra started with intent. It wanted to bat for the day, but the batsmen ran out of patience. Resuming at 40/2, the host limped to 136/9 by tea at the CSR Sharma College Ground here on Saturday. Still nursing a hamstring niggle, Yarra Prithviraj did not bat and was later ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Overnight batsman C.R. Gnaneshwar 43 off 166 (7x4) lost his concentration after fighting out 30 odd overs in the first session. The right-hander was stumped by Avi Barot off Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. The seam-friendly track perhaps lost its texture due to the heat with the pitch breaking up slightly as the slow left-arm bowler went on to add two more scalps to his kitty – B. Sumanth 1 and Mohammad Rafi 0 (both lbw dismissals).

Seamer Chirag Jani, who turned the match in Saurashtra's favour by scoring a century at No. 7 on Friday, starred with the ball. He broke the middle-order by sending Ricky Bhui 28 off 100 (4x4) and Karan Shinde 9 off 16 (4x2) back in one spell. Right-hander Bhui was caught by Barot. Harvik Desai, at first slip, took a regulation catch to dismiss Shinde.

Ranji Trophy Quarterfinals | Day Three: As it Happened

The next four Andhra wickets fell inside 19 runs with skipper K.S. Bharat, 26 off 69 (4x4), being the only batsman who fought till the end. He finally fell to Jaydev Unadkat; caught at deep fine leg by Jani.

The left-arm pacer packed up K.V. Sasikanth in similar fashion, caught by Sheldon Jackson, to finish with four wickets and top the bowling chart this season with 55 wickets.

Despite gaining a lead of 283, Saurashtra chose to bat again.

Andhra had a reason to cheer when Rafi ran through Desai in the first ball of Saurashtra’s second innings. The right-hander once again failed to get off the mark, scoring his second duck of the match. Six overs later, C. Stephen bowled Kishan Parmar 12 off 21 (3x4) but the visitor had no reason to worry. On the back of a huge lead, Barot 44* off 100 (6x4) and Vishvaraj Jadeja 35* off 78 (4x4) added 61 runs for the third wicket to finish at 93/2 at stumps.

Leading by 376 runs, Saurashtra is likely to declare by lunch on Day 4.

Brief scores: Andhra 136/9 (Gnaneshwar 43, R Bhui 28; J Unadkat 4/42, D Jadeja 3/27); Saurashtra 419 & 93/2 (A Barot 44*, V Jadeja 35*; M Rafi 1/31, C. Stephen 1/16) leads by 376 runs at stumps on Day 3

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