Ranji Trophy semifinals, Day 3: Saurashtra in tatters after Chintan Gaja's fiery spell

Gaja scored a half-century and ran through the Saurashtra top-order to turn the tables in Rajkot.

Bengal's Ishan Porel dismissed K. L. Rahul for a duck. - PTI

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the third day of the two semifinal contests.

 

STUMPS

In Kolkata: Karnataka 122 and 98 for 3 (Padikkal 50 n.o.) needs 254 more runs to beat Bengal 312 and 161 (Mithun 4 for 23).

In Rajkot: Saurashtra 304 and 66 for 5 (Gaja 5 for 15) leads Gujarat 252 by 118 runs.

 

UPDATES

Chintan Gaja has singularly changed the complexion of the contest with his plucky half-century and a fiery spell that destroyed Gujarat's top order. If Saurashtra strengthened its hold on the contest yesterday, it all unravelled for it today.

When he started coming down the track to the fast bowlers, he was living by the sword and his adventure could have ended early. But he rode his luck and ended up narrowing the deficit to 52.

And then he started drawing edges one after the other to leave Saurashtra in tatters.

In Kolkata, the contest hasn't quite slipped out of Bengal's hands but it would have been in a much more secure position had it not been bowled out for 161. Karnataka's seamers were effective, and Devdutt Padikkal's half-century keeps the side afloat. If wickets aren't taken quickly on the morrow, Abhimanyu Easwaran and his side will be under pressure.

Join us, on Day Four, for the action. Until then, it's goodbye.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | It's stumps, at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. Arpit Vasavada and Sakariya have added 51 runs so far for the sixth wicket. An uphill task awaits Saurashtra to wriggle out of this. What a day.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Left-arm seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla brings out an edge off Chetan Sakariya, but it's dropped at first slip. It seemed a straightforward chance for Rujul Bhat.

Bengal vs Karnataka | It's the end of the day's play at Eden Gardens. Karnataka is on 98 for 3, with Devdutt Padikkal batting on 50 (10b, 6x4) and Manish Pandey on 11 (32b, 1x4).

Bengal vs Karnataka | Half-century for Devdutt Padikkal. It's been a vigilant knock from him, he's endured plenty of plays and misses. Six boundaries for him so far.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | The top-order batsmen failed, but nightwatchman Chetan Sakariya is holding fort for Saurashtra. Axar Patel nearly had him on the first ball of his spell in this innings; Sakariya tried to play a slog sweep but under-edged the ball; the ball missed the stumps narrowly and ran down to fine leg.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Mukesh Kumar gets a delivery to come into Karun Nair off a good length, and the ball hits him high on the back leg. A loud appeal and it's given out. Nair goes for 3. Karnataka three down now, for 76.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Meanwhile, at Eden Gardens, Karnataka has lost its second wicket. Akash Deep dismisses R. Samarth lbw for 27. Karnataka 71 for 2 after 27 overs.

The ball came into the batsman off a full length, and hit him on the pads. The appeal, turned down initially, was upheld after the DRS was taken by Bengal.

Ishan Porel gestures after the dismissal of K. L. Rahul. - PTI

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | And one more. Sheldon Jackson, who scored a century in the first innings, falls for a duck in the second. Gaja brings out an edge, and he is caught by Rujul Bhatt at first slip.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Gaja has one more. Four wickets now, for him. His incoming delivery, off a good length, comes into the batsman - Vishwarajsinh Jadeja - and dislodges the bails.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Fifty up for Karnataka in the second innings. R. Samarth (23, 65b, 1x4) and Devdutt Padikkal (29, 64b, 3x4) have laid anchor.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Gaja is on fire. He has dented the Saurashtra top order, dismissing the top three batsmen in the opposition line-up. First, in the second over, Kishan Parmar was caught behind for a duck; then, in the sixth over, Gaja removed Harvik Desai — caught in the slips off a full-length delivery outside off — and Avi Barot — caught at short-leg after a defensive prod off another full-length delivery.

The contest has turned on its head, thanks to Gaja.

Dhruv Raval's catch to dismiss Parmar was his first as a wicketkeeper. Parthiv Patel isn't keeping in the second innings, informs our correspondent Shayan Acharya. No official reason has been given.

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Chintan Gaja lives by the sword, and dies by it. He goes down the track once again to a fast bowler, this time the left-armer Chetan Sakariya. It's a short ball, he attempts an almighty heave, and ends up edging it to the wicketkeeper, who leaps a bit to get to the ball and once in his gloves, kisses it.

But Gaja's kaleidoscopic innings of 61 brought down the deficit quite a bit. Saurashtra has a first-innings lead of 52. Gujarat is bowled out for 252.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Unadkat ends the nagging partnership. It's a good length delivery outside off-stump, and Rujul looks to steer it away to third man; he gets an edge, and the wicketkeeper takes a simple catch.

The partnership was worth 87 runs. Gujarat 246 for 9.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | The new ball has been taken, in Rajkot. Jaydev Unadkat bowls an accurate first over with the new ball.

Chintan Gaja gets to his half-century; it's a useful knock for Gujarat. His strike rate has come down after his slam-bang approach in the initial period. It's nearly 59. The partnership between Gaja and Rujul Bhatt is now worth 76.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Ishan Porel is in business again, he's dismissed K. L. Rahul lbw. The ball came back in sharply off a good length, and hit the flap of his pad on the back-leg. Rahul thinks it's too high, and opts for the DRS; he's told by the umpire he cannot take the DRS for such purpose.

It can only be used if he thinks there's bat involved; Rahul played no stroke on that one, holding his bat up high above his head, there's no question of bat being involved. Rahul leaves shaking his head. 0 for 1 Karnataka.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Another stumping, and it's all over for Bengal in the second innings. Ishan Porel steps out of his crease for a shot, misses the ball, and is stumped. Bengal bowled out for 161. Karnataka's target: 352.

The last-wicket partnership between Porel and Mukesh Kumar was worth five runs. All five runs were scored by Mukesh; it includes a flick off a full toss off Abhimanyu Mithun for a boundary through square leg.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Majumdar departs. For some reason, he decides to garner big hits off K. Gowtham's bowling and pays the price. He earns a reprieve first; coming down the track to the off-spinner, he misses the ball but S. Sharath, the wicketkeeper, doesn't collect the ball cleanly enough to effect a stumping. A ball later, he does it again, off a delivery that was wide of the off-stump; he misses again, and is duly stumped.

Majumdar scored 41. Bengal nine down.

Karnataka's Abhimanyu Mithun appeals. He took four wickets in Bengal's second innings. - PTI

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | Akash Deep has been dismissed caught behind off Abhimanyu Mithun, who has his fourth wicket. Bengal eight down now, for 154. Mithun has been the standout bowler for Karnataka in the second innings.

Mukesh Kumar is the new batsman.

Bengal vs Karnataka | At Eden Gardens, in the final over before lunch, Akash Deep survives an lbw appeal. Off-spinner Gowtham got a full delivery to turn into the batsman; the umpire ruled it not out.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | It's lunch, in Rajkot. Here's Shayan Acharya: It's lunch. Gujarat is on 211 for 8, still trailing by 93 runs. A gritty show by Rujul Bhat has ensured a fightback by the visiting team. A total of 92 runs have been scored in this session.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | In Rajkot, Chintan Gaja is having fun. He hits yet another six - he comes down the track for a mighty hit off Unadkat - to bring up the 50 partnership. Forty out of the 50 runs scored are by Gaja. That's the fourth six of his innings.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Shahbaz attempts a paddle-sweep, misses the ball and Karnataka goes up for an lbw appeal. It's given out; Shahbaz's decision to review the verdict doesn't come to his rescue. The ball didn't hit his bat and at the point of impact, the ball was within the stumps. It would go on to hit as well.

Bengal seven down.

Akash Deep is the new batsman.

Chirag Jani celebrates with his team-mates after the dismissal of Axar Patel. - VIJAY SONEJI

Bengal vs Karnataka | 150 up for Bengal in the second innings. Shahbaz plays an uppish drive through extra cover for four off K. Gowtham and in the same over, comes down the track and tees off for a six through long-on.

Bengal vs Karnataka | Anustup Majumdar flicks Karun Nair to leg to take a single and bring up the 50 partnership. It's been another rescue act from Majumdar and Shahbaz; Majumdar is batting on 36 (79b) and Shahbaz on 21 (33b).

Bengal 139 for 6 after 44 overs.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Here's our correspondent Shayan Acharya: Out or not out, seems to be the question for Chintan Gaja. After Saurashtra opted for the DRS, it took a bit of time for the TV umpires to reach a conclusion. Even before the decision came in, Saurashtra fans started cheering... But it's a green light, eventually. The TV umpire actually pressed the wrong button before he reversed his decision and gave it a NOT OUT!

The referral was for a stumping.

Axar Patel scored 21. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Two more sixes for Chintan Gaja. First, he pulls Chirag Jani for a six through fine leg, and two balls later, comes down the track and tees off for a six to long-on.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Chintan Gaja is living by the sword. He comes down the track to Prerak Mankad and attempts an agricultural hoick; he misses the ball, and the bowler is amused. Next delivery, he goes for it again; this time, he connects, and the ball travels a long way and settles near the stands.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Roosh Kalaria goes for a duck. He pushes at a full delivery outside off stump from Chirag Jani, and is caught by the cover fielder. The umpire goes upstairs for the no ball but it isn't one. Gujarat eight down now.

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | First wicket of the day for Saurashtra. Axar goes, caught behind off Chirag Jani, who has his first wicket. Gujarat 155 for 7.

Gujarat's Rujul Bhat plays a ball to leg. - VIJAY SONEJI

 

Saurashtra vs Gujarat | Meanwhile, in Rajkot, the partnership between Axar and Rujul Bhat has crossed 50. Here's Shayan Acharya, our correspondent, with the latest from the SCA stadium: Saurashtra took a review in the morning, but it did not go in its favour. So far, Gujarat has been trying to steady the ship and pick up some quick runs. Will this move work?

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Bengal vs Karnataka | A caught behind appeal by Karnataka after Majumdar hangs his bat to a delivery just outside the off-stump from Prasidh Krishna. He's given out, and he opts to take the DRS.

Replays show the ball doesn't change its direction as it passes the bat, and there's some gap as well, between the bat and the ball. No sound either, apart from that of possible scratching of the boots on the pitch.

The on-field umpire is taken aback, and Karnataka's players as well. Upon some interrogation by the players, he shrugs his shoulders. Perhaps, he went by that sound that doesn't seem like one that would be produced if the ball's edged.

100 up for Bengal. The lead is 292.

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | Two in two for Ronit More. He bowls a full delivery to Chatterjee and it comes into the batsman, hitting the pads; Chatterjee played all around it. A loud shout for lbw and it's a straightforward decision for the umpire. The next delivery, to new batsman Shreevats Goswami, is a short one, outside the off-stump, and Goswami gets an edge through to the wicketkeeper.

Bengal six down now.

Shahbaz, the new batsman, leaves alone the first delivery he faces - that's the hat-trick ball - and then gets off the mark with a punch off the back-foot for four.

 

Bengal vs Karnataka | Appeal for caught behind, and it's given not out. Sudip Chatterjee tried to play the pull off a short delivery from Abhimanyu Mithun; the ball passes the bat and goes through to S. Sharath, the wicketkeeper, who appeals, as does Mithun.

Karnataka opts for the DRS, but the third umpire cannot find enough evidence to overrule the on-field umpire's decision. There wasn't any change in the trajectory of the ball and the seam position was the same; moreover, no discernible sound. Chatterjee stays.

Bengal vs Karnataka | While negotiating a short delivery from Ronit More, Sudip Chatterjee trods on to his stumps. The bails are down, but the umpire goes upstairs to check for the no ball. And it is a no ball.

It's the second time in the innings that a batsman been let off this way. On both occasions, the bowler has been Ronit More. Late on Day Two, Majumdar was nearly dismissed but for the no ball.

Saurashtra vs Karnataka | Axar Patel plays two lovely strokes - a punch through cover, though not off the back-foot, and a cut - for boundaries, off Jaydev Unadkat. A burgeoning partnership, this, between Axar and Rujul Bhatt; the two have added 39 runs. The deficit for Gujarat now is 168.

Bengal v Karnataka | Mithun bowled the first over in which the ball has darted, jagged and leapt. This could turn into a tricky chase if Karnataka can chip away in the first hour and given Bengal's reputation, no one's ruling out the possibility!

Bengal v Karnataka | Our correspondent Ayan Acharya tweets from Eden Gardens: Crucial first hour for both teams. If Bengal can add another 100, they'll believe they've one foot in the final. Karnataka has to believe it can chase down anything with time on its side. The strategy of going a bowler light backfired. KL has to step up.

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Anustup Majumdar was nearly dismissed late on Day Two, a front-foot no-ball came to his rescue. At a time when Bengal, albeit possessing a clear advantage in the contest, isn't out of danger in its second innings yet, will he deliver once more? He has Sudip Chatterjee for company this time, though, and Bengal will hope the two see off the first hour safely and bat for long.

A reminder: thanks to Majumdar's unbeaten century and Ishan Porel's five-wicket haul, Bengal has a lead of 262 runs.

Gujarat's position, though, is shaky in Rajkot. And if the lower order doesn't provide some resistance today, a big first-innings lead will be Saurashtra's to claim.

STUMPS, DAY TWO

In Kolkata: Bengal 312 (Majumdar 149 n.o.) and 72 for 4 leads Karnataka 122 (Porel 5 for 39) by 262 runs.

In Rajkot: Gujarat 119 for 6 trails Saurashtra 304 (Jackson 103, Nagwaswalla 5 for 81) by 185 runs.