Ranji Trophy: Assam hangs on for a draw

For Vidarbha, everything went according to script for most of the day. But an unbeaten third wicket stand of 36 runs, which consumed more than 20 overs, by Assam's Rahul Hazarika and Amit Verma put paid to its hope for an outright win.

Aditya Sarwate

Left arm spinner Aditya Sarwate (right) took five for 72 for Vidarbha.   -  Special Arrangement

Assam secured its first point of the season after managing a draw against Vidarbha at the St.Xavier’s College ground here on Sunday.

For Vidarbha, everything went according to script for most of the day. It managed to squeeze out the seven remaining Assam wickets a few minutes after lunch. It then quickly dismissed two of Assam's batsmen after asking them to follow on. But an unbeaten third wicket stand of 36 runs, which consumed more than 20 overs, by Rahul Hazarika and Amit Verma put paid to Vidarbha's hopes for an outright win. The play was called off before the the mandatory overs when Assam was 73 for two.

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On a pitch that aided spinners, Akshay Sarwate took five for 72 as Assam, which resumed at overnight score of 98 for three, was dismissed for 227. Things began ominously for Assam as the overnight batsman Rishav Das fell to medium pacer Lalit Yadva in the opening over of the day. The rest of the Assam batsmen failed to convert their starts and fell because of poor strokes. Sarwate was persistent with his line and induced the batsmen to err. Sarupam's unbeaten 44 enabled his side cross 200.

Following on, Assam lost Rishav Das, who was trapped in front by Sarwate. Tarjinder was run out as Vidarbha sensed victory. But Rahul and Amit showed patience and blunted the effectiveness of the spinners.

Assam’s coach Sunil Joshi was disappointed with his team’s batting but said it was nice to have a point on the board. The former India player said his batsmen failed to convert their starts and it was something which has been bothering the team this season.

"Playing away from the comforts of home has its disadvantages. Our batters struggled to convert their starts. Also a couple of decisions went against us. Overall we are happy to get a point from this match. I think we played well in the second innings and we take positives from this match. We still have five more matches to play and I think we can turn things around," he said.

Faiz Fazal, the Vidarbha captain, was pleased with the three points his team managed to get from the match.

"We tried hard to force a win but we didn’t have enough time to take rest of the wickets. The pitch was still good for batting and Assam played well in the second innings. Rain seems to be following us and it certainly has prevented our chances from forcing a win in this match. We have been able to execute our plans in the field and I think we still have a good chance of entering the knock out round," he said.

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