Ranji: Unadkat’s 10-wicket haul puts Saurashtra in final

Following his splendid 6 for 77 from 26 overs in the first innings, Unadkat bent his back, extracted lift off the surface, made the ball cut and added another clutch of five wickets for a match analysis of 10 for 122.

Jaydev Unadkat has picked 36 wickets in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. (File photo)   -  Basheer

Saurashtra’s Jaydev Unadkat has modified a few things about himself. He now sports an American crew hairstyle, which seems to be the trend among cricketers these days. He has also added a bit of venom to his left-arm seam bowling that made him quite lethal against Assam. Thanks to his five wickets in the second innings, Saurashtra thrashed Assam by 10 wickets in the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Reliance stadium on Monday.

Following his splendid 6 for 77 from 26 overs in the first innings, Unadkat bent his back, extracted lift off the surface, made the ball cut and added another clutch of five wickets for a match analysis of 10 for 122. It is his second ten wicket haul in first class cricket after his 13 for 103 for India `A’ against West Indies `A’ at Grace Road, Leicester in June 2010.

Read: >Ranji Trophy semi-final: Mumbai deflates Madhya Pradesh

In the wilderness for five years after his Test debut against South African at the Centurion Park, the 24 year old Southpaw gave another classic exhibition of fast and seam bowling on a surface that was lively for a third day in a row and dismissed half the Assam batsmen in the second innings. Saurashtra will await the outcome of the semi-final match between Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh at Cuttack.

Barring Amit Verma and K. B. Arun Karthick, Assam seemed to lack a high-quality batsman. But chairman of the national selection committee, Sandeep Patil would have been impressed by Unadkat’s effort in this knock-out match over a period of three days.

Unadkat made the most of the 121 run lead his team established after a terrific century by Cheteshwar Pujara (126). Once the stocky Avi Barod plucked a blinder at short leg to send back opener Pallavkumar Das in the seventh over, Unadkat piled on the pressure with able assistance from another left-arm bowler Hardik Rathod. It was a virtual procession towards the dressing room and the moment Arun Karthick cut left arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja to substitute Kamlesh Makvana at point the writing on the wall was clear for Assam.

Left hander Syed Mohammad batted for two hours and seven minutes before Rathod breached his defence. The seventh wicket stand of 42, after Unadkat had send down a nine over spell, only prevented an innings defeat for Assam. Unadkat returned to mop up the tail by dismissing Arup Das for zero. It was a perfect finish a bowling task that he and his team would be proud of.

Assam began the day taking the second new ball and Krishna Das forced Pujara to make a mistake as the right hander, troubled by a nagging stiff neck, drove into the hands of Mohammad. Deepak Punia lifted off spinner Swarupam Purkayastha for three towering sixes which swelled the lead to 121 runs. Punia and Jadeja then added 50 for the ninth wicket before the Saurashtra innings folded up with leg spinner Verma dismissing the last two batsmen.