Ranji Trophy Final, Day 2: Vasavada, Pujara put Saurashtra on top against Bengal

Follow the LIVE day two action from the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot.

Arpit Vasavada continued his good form with a fighting fifty against Bengal.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's day two LIVE blog from the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot. This is Aashin Prasad and I will be bringing you the live updates.

Bengal will be pretty deflated after the last 7 hours of play. Arpit Vasavada and Cheteshwar Pujara batted for 273 minutes to snatch any momentum Bengal had towards the end of Monday. Mukesh Kumar did well to fight back with two late wickets but the away side will want to wrap up the Saurashtra batting quickly before giving itself a chance with the bat tomorrow. We will be back again with the live action at 9.30 am on Wednesday. Goodbye until then.

  • Jadeja slaps two back-to-back boundaries to end the day's play. It's all smiles and cheers in the Saurashtra dressing room. Saurashtra 384/8 in 160 overs 
  • Bengal bowlers aren't away giving anything easily. Last three overs fetch just two runs. A lot of hard work being put in for little rewards. Akash Deep is into his 30th over while Mukesh has bowled 38.
  • Jani and Jadeja are looking to add some quick runs here with just a handful of over left in the day. Saurashtra: 373/8 in 156 overs
  • WICKET! Mukesh is getting the ball to tail in and he traps Mankad leg before. The batsman goes for the review after being given out but it won't save him. Saurashtra is eight down. D Jadeja is the new batsman.
  • WICKET! And Mukesh Kumar manages to sneak past Pujara's outside edge and trap him in front! The umpire has no hesitation in putting his finger up but Pujara goes for the review. No bat involved and the ball will be going on to hit off and middle.  His knock of 66 from 237 balls come to an end. Prerak Mankad is in at No. 9. Saurashtra: 358/7 in 151 overs

 

Chirag Jani is the new batsman

  • It's happened. A wicket for Bengal! Shahbaz draws Arpit forward to get to the pitch of the length ball but he misses to make connection and ends up getting stumped. A monumental effort from the batsman which has put his team in a position of control. He departs for 106 off 287 balls. With that the partnership of 142 off 380 balls in 297 minutes comes to an end. Saurashtra: 348/6 in 144 overs
  • We are back for the final session of the day. Can Bengal breach the defence of either of these Saurashtra batsmen? Shahbaz Ahmed is bowling over the wicket and is bowling outside leg stump line to Pujara, which is going to make it difficult to get that much-needed wicket.
  • Wriddhaayan sums up the session for us: "Pujara and Arpit: 273 minutes today for 133 runs till tea. Arpit batted for 450 minutes since yesterday. For the first time in the season, a team has gone past 250 against Bengal. Also, for the first time in the season, Bengal has not picked up a wicket for two sessions. At tea, Saurashtra 339/5 in 139 overs"
  • Fifty for Pujara off 191 balls. He brings it up with a late cut past short third man. It has been a patient innings from the India international considering he had to retire to the dressing room last evening due to high fever.
  • HUNDRED FOR ARPIT VASAVADA! Saurashtra's semifinal hero is making a strong case to be its hero in the final, too. His teammates are up from their seats to applaud him, while his skipper Unadkat punches the air in delight. He brings up his hundred with a boundary of the 256th ball he faced.

 

  • A spectator is sitting in the stands with a two-wheeler's helmet over his head...
  • Anustup Majumdar to have a bowl with his leg spinners... he bowls short and Pujara rocks onto the back foot and dispatches it over to the mid-wicket boundary. He now moves into the 40s and his strike rate is now up from 22 to 24.
  • Arpit arrows a shot straight onto the non-striker stump and Bengal appeals for a run-out after Mukesh Kumar claims he got a touch on the ball to catch Pujara short. The third umpire, however, says there isn't conclusive evidence to suggest Mukesh got a touch on the ball to give Pujara out. There isn't much protest from Mukesh. That seemed like the only way Pujara would get out today.
  • Arpit Vasavada is into the 90s. After frustrating Bengal in the first half of the day, the southpaw is now taking advantage of the loose deliveries to push home the advantage. Saurashtra: 313/5 in 128 overs
  • 100 runs up for the day after 46 overs of play. The partnership strike rate is 2.2. Can only assume that Saurashtra will want to bat the whole day which would likely see it move into a position from which it can't be beaten. 
  • It's been a slow progress since the start of the second day's play, but Saurashtra has brought up 300! A significant milestone in the context of the match and given the nature of the pitch. Arpit Vasavada, batting on 85, has been a rock, while Cheteshwar Pujara, batting on 34, continues to battle. Saurashtra is 301 for five
  • Abhishek Raman, who is under the lid at short leg, is struck on his foot after a pull shot from Arpit. He is now taken off the firing line by a substitute fielder. Akash's short ball beats the glove of Saha and runs away for five wides. Saurashtra: 291/5 in 121 overs

Here's the story on umpire C. Shamshuddin's health: Ranji Trophy final: Umpire Yeshwant Barde to replace Shamshuddin

  • Second session begins as Akash Deep is back into the attack. The pacer manages to catch Pujara by surprise with a bouncer. Crucial period for Bengal and it will take heart from the fact that it fought its way back after a wicketless first session on day one.

How would you rate the pitch for the final? Or is it too early to judge?

 

  • Earlier, it was suggested that Shamshuddin had a blow to his head. But Wriddhaayan says "Umpire Shamshuddin went to Gokul hospital for a precautionary checkup as the ball hit his lower abdomen area. We hear he is going to return by 2 pm but not sure if he will officiate today. Yeshwant Barde is coming to officiate as an umpire from tomorrow."

"Goodbye, ball 120..." Pujara leaves a delivery during the first session of the second day's play against Bengal. Photo: VIJAY SONEJI

 

  • LUNCH! Session goes to Saurashtra as Arpit (73*) and Pujara (28*) come through unscathed with 72 runs in 34.1 overs. Bengal must be pretty deflated by that even if Saurashtra hasn't piled on the runs. Saurashtra: 278/5 in 115 overs
  • Senior national selector Sarandeep Singh is at the venue to watch the match.
  • Shahbaz goes around the wicket and Pujara is just happy kicking the balls pitched outside leg.
  • Pujara doing a great Pujara here to blunt Bengal. 24 runs from 112 balls so far. And this is him with a fever at 29 degrees heat.
  • The spin duo of Shahbaz and Arnab Nandi seem to be the ones causing some trouble for Saurashtra at the moemnt. However, the last 10 overs have bought 31 runs for the home team. Saurashtra: 265/5 in 106 overs
  • In last year's semifinal against Karnataka, Pujara refused to walk after being caught behind twice in the match. He went on to score a hundred and in the process eliminated Karnataka. DRS was introduced in the semifinals this year to ensure such errors do not happen.

 

  • Manoj Tiwary leads an emergency Bengal team talk in a huddle between overs. The innings is starting to slip away from the visiting team. Saurashtra: 264/5 in 104 overs
  • Pujara clever in using his feet to the spinners. He steps out and puts in a long stride to deliveries  on the stumps while staying in his crease for balls pitched wide. My colleague Suhith says he did the same to Nathan Lyon in Australia last year.
  • Huge appeal for LBW as Shahbaz traps the pad of Pujara, who had stepped out of his crease. Umpire turns down the appeal but Shahbaz convinces his skipper to go for the review. Replay shows Pujara is away from the stumps by over nine feet, which deems it unpredictable to track the trajectory of the ball. Shahbaz and his teammates aren't happy but the umpire explains why the decision wasn't overturned. Saurashtra: 258/5 in 101 overs
  • Fifty for Arpit Vasavada. Another crucial knock after his second innings hundred against Gujarat in the semis. He brings up the landmark by hitting a boundary straight down the ground and off 140 balls.
  • Crikey. Arpit looks to duck under what was a short delivery from Akash Deep from over the wicket but the ball keeps low and almost clips the wickets. Another short ball and this time Arpit pulls it behind square for the first boundary of the day. With that we will have the first drinks break of the day.
  • Vishvaraj Jadeja suggested "We should try to add 100-150 runs" at the start of day's play. Saurashtra is some way off it...
  • Spin into the attack after 14 overs. Shahbaz Ahmed to have a go in search of that breakthrough.
  • Wriddhaayan pings from the SCA: "The pitch will only get slower from here it seems. Saurashtra has scored 20 odd runs in 45 minutes."

 

  • 10.1 overs bowled today and just 17 runs for Saurashtra for the loss of no wickets. No real intent shown by the batsmen in playing their shots. Saurashtra: 224/5 in 90 overs
  • Two good length deliveries by Porel; on off stump and on fifth stump line outside off which keep low on the batsman. But Pujara carefully watches to dead-bat the straight ball before shouldering arms to the second delivery.
  • After 86 overs, Bengal opts for the new ball. We had over 4.5 overs bowled with the old ball didn't seem to do anything off the pitch to trouble the batsmen. Bengal unleashes Ishan Porel on Pujara and the pacer jags one into the batsman. The slip cordon likes that.
  • Umpire Chettithody Shamsuddin hasn't come out to the field after being struck on his head by the ball yesterday at his square leg position. His replacement, Piyush Khakhar, will only stand at square leg, while KN Ananthapadmanabhan will officiate from the bowler's end.
  • Akash Deep completes his over. Mukesh Kumar will continue his overnight spell against Arpit Vasavada. We are into the second over of the day and the ball on fifth stump line keeps low and bounces twice before reaching the gloves of Saha.

Pujara is indeed walking out to bat.

Wriddhaayan has spotted Pujara at the venue but isn't sure if he will come out to bat at the start of play.

Not too long ago, Saurashtra was among the plate division Ranji Trophy side. But under Debu Mitra, it made its first ever appearance in a final in 2012-13. In this interview, the former Bengal cricketer says he is conflicted about his favourite for the ongoing final.

Good morning to one and all. It's the second day of the final and it's a crucial morning for both the finalists. Can Saurashtra get past 300 or will Bengal mop up the lower order under 250? Will Chesteshwar Pujara return to play further part in this innings?

Day 1 Highlights:

It was a great start to the final as both teams shared the honours at Stumps on Day one. Saurashtra began on a strong note with Harvik Desai and Avi Barot giving their team a good start. However, Bengal bounced back in the second session by picking Harvik and got the breakthrough they wanted. Fifties from Barok and Vishvaraj Jadeja propped up Saurashtra but Bengal once again crawled back by packing off both the half-centurions. While Arpit Vasavada held one end, Sheldon Jackson perished, an unwell Cheteshwar Pujara walked back and Chetan Sakariya perished at close. With 206/5, Bengal will hope to make further inroads, while Saurashtra frets on Pujara's illness.

Here's how the day one unfolded. On an unhelpful pitch for the bowlers, Bengal fought well to keep Saurashtra in check. Here's how our reporter Wriddhaayan Bhattacharya summed up the day's play.

Playing XIs:

Saurashtra: Jaydev Unadkat (c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Harvik Desai, Avi Barot (wk), Prerak Mankad, Vishwaraj Jadeja, Chetan Sakariya

Bengal: Abhimanyu Easwaran (c), Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Anustup Majumdar, Sudip Chatterjee, Arnab Nandi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, and Sudip Gharami.

 

The match will be streamed live on Hotstar.