After batting for five sessions with assurance, Rajat Patidar’s defence deserted him when he was four runs short of what would have been a brilliant maiden double-century. Thanks to his efforts, Madhya Pradesh (MP) posted a competitive 393 in its first innings in its Ranji Trophy contest against Tamil Nadu (TN) here.
The star of the day, however, was local boy M. Mohammed (4 for 98), who claimed a hat-trick, including the crucial wicket of Patidar (196, 406b, 17X4, 1X6). He brought TN back into the contest towards the end of the day.
Patidar, the MP vice-captain, was hardly troubled by any of the TN bowlers and saw off the challenge from offspinner R. Ashwin (4 for 85), playing him off the backfoot with confidence. If it was cover drive on day one, on the second day, it was the pull shot; Patidar was not afraid to use the pull to good use as the TN bowlers tried to pepper him with some short deliveries.
He got to his 150 with two boundaries off Vijay Shankar; one was a pull and the other an edge to the third man region — a rare shot that he was not in control.
Play started an hour and fifteen minutes late on Day Two due to rain and Patidar continued from where he left off on the first day as he faced the challenge posed by the second new ball under helpful conditions.
New batsman Shubham Sharma looked assured, too, starting his day with two boundaries off Abishek Tanwar in one over as the duo ensured MP went to lunch without losing a wicket. Sharma and Patidar added 106 runs for the fourth wicket before Rahil Shah had Sharma edging to the keeper, attempting a cut.
The wicket forced Patidar to up the scoring rate with some expansive shots; the best among them was a pull off Mohammed that sailed over the midwicket fence. Patidar quickly moved into the 190s with a few more boundaries before Mohammed dismissed Yash Dubey off the last ball of the second session.
In the second over after tea, Mohammed finally ended Patidar’s vigil at the crease. It was a beautiful delivery outside off-stump; the batsman was surprised by the slight extra bounce that found the outside edge. Mohammed, then, had Mihir Hirwani dismissed off the next ball — caught fishing at gully — to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Ashwin then quickly wrapped up the tail with three wickets to restrict MP below 400.
- Madhya Pradesh 393 (Rajat Patidar 196, Aryaman Vikram Birla 51, M. Mohammed 4 for 98, R. Ashwin 4 for 85) vs Tamil Nadu 0 for 0.
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