Ranji Trophy: Gohil triple century swats Odisha

Opener Samit Gohil carried the bat with an unbeaten 359, the highest in first class cricket for Gujarat, as Odisha wilted out of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Tuesday.

Samit Gohil added 188 runs for the last two wickets to take Gujarat to an imposing total of 641.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Opener Samit Gohil carried the bat with an unbeaten 359, the highest in first-class cricket for Gujarat, as Odisha wilted out of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Tuesday.

Having virtually confirmed its entry into the semifinal with a 64-run first innings lead, thanks to a fiery spell of bowling by Jasprit Bumrah which won him the "man of the match" award from referee Daniel Manohar, Gujarat opted to use rest of the time in the five-day match for good batting.

> Samit Gohil in prestigious company

It suited the 26-year-old Gohil, as he kept adding hundred after hundred, a phenomenal effort for someone whose previous best was 104. The last two partners Hardik Patel, who retired with an injury in the first over of the day and returned later, and Jasprit Bumrah gave such solid support that Samit added 188 runs for the last two wickets to take Gujarat to 641.

Quite understandably, Gohil was eloquent in his praise of his teammates, the last two batsmen in particular, "Jasprit especially kept giving me confidence, saying that I had to focus on my batting and that he would not get out," recalled Gohil.

He raved about the brilliance of fellow opener Priyank Panchal who had scored more than a thousand runs this season before this match, compiling four centuries, including a double century and a triple century.

Modest about overtaking Panchal’s best score of 314 against Punjab, Gohil said that he had learnt from his conversations with him about the nuances of playing big innings, with such consistency.

The pitch supported both good bowling and batting, but the Odisha bowlers lacked support from their fielders who stood rooted to the ground when many a chance flew towards them, including one from Gohil on 299. There were at least two instances, when opening bowler Suryakant Pradhan was seen shouting at the fielders in the slips for not attempting to catch.

Eventually, Abhishek Yadav took a fine catch in the second slip to dismiss Hardik Patel off Biplab Samantaray’s spin bowling, and the rest of the fielders fell on him in a heap in celebration, football style, to rejoice the end of agony.

Gujarat was clear about its approach, and despite the fans, sparse in number but quite vociferous, demanding to see Bumrah bowling, skipper Parthiv Patel who gave up his wicket-keeping job to Chirag Gandhi, used the spinners right from the start to run through the overs, till play was eventually called off before the mandatory overs.

There was some entertainment for the spectators as Subhransu Senapati hammered an unbeaten 59 off 58 balls with four boundaries and five sixes.

In the semifinal, Gujarat will challenge Jharkand in Nagpur from January 1.