Bolstered by fiery bowling, Saurashtra steamrollered Vidarbha into submission. The Gujarat side recorded a resounding victory, by an innings and 85 runs, barely a quarter of an hour after tea on day three of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Dr. P.V.G. Raju-ACA Sports Complex ground here on Friday.
Setting the Saurashtra attack apart was its incisive and disciplined approach, showcased by its spearhead Jaydev Unadkat (four for 35), and ably assisted by Deepak Punia (three for 32).
“All four of us (the pacemen) maintained the pressure. We wanted to restrict the batsmen too,” said the speedy southpaw.
“Some of the best bowling of my career came at this ground, three dismissals being special. The first wicket off the second ball of the match to get rid of Jitesh Sharma, sending Akshay Wakhare’s stump cart-wheeling in the first innings and squeezing a catch out of S. Badrinath in the second were most satisfying,” the strapping seamer said.
Punia said: “It was a good day for us and we wanted to get them out quickly. We bowled to the good areas, and support from our fielders turned things our way.”
“Getting Test cricket badshah Wasim Jaffer out in both innings is most memorable for me. He was by far the best batsman in this match,” said the bearded 22-year-old who played for Services last season.
Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak, the architect of his side’s resurgence, described the victory as an all-round performance by the team.
“It was a good toss to win, and our bowlers exploited the first day’s conditions. But after that the wicket settled down and the two centurions (Sagar Jogiyani and Sheldon Jackson) along with Cheteshwar (Pujara), batted nicely. The wicket had dried out on the third day but the bowlers were very disciplined. They bowled in one channel to create uncertainty among the batsmen,” he said.
There was enough evidence of his boys relentlessly pounding the ‘corridor,’ with four Vidarbha batsmen caught behind by stumper Jogiyani.
But for Aditya Sarwate, held by Hardik Rathod at long leg, most of the batsmen were picked up at close range. Standing tall amidst the wreckage was Mumbai import Jaffer, top scorer in both innings for the vanquished.
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