Ranji Trophy: Jackson, Vasavada thwart Mumbai's surge

Sheldon Jackson and his twin partnerships with stand-in captain Arpit Vasavada and allrounder Chirag Jani ensured Saurashtra held the upper hand at the SCA stadium.

Sheldon Jackson put Saurashtra in front on a day of gripping cricket at the Ranji Trophy. (File Picture)   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Sheldon Jackson (85, 151b, 10x4, 1x6) and his twin partnerships with stand-in captain Arpit Vasavada (46, 77b, 7x4) and allrounder Chirag Jani (45 n.o., 101b, 5x4, 1x6) ensured Saurashtra held the upper hand on a gripping day at the SCA stadium.

Thanks to Jackson’s solid knock and his 82-run and 66-run association with Vasavada and Jani for the fourth and sixth wicket, respectively, Saurashtra ended Day Two of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie at 257 for six, five runs shy of Mumbai’s 262.

With the second new ball just one over old, Mumbai will rely on pace duo of Royston Dias and Tushar Deshpande - both of whom were impressive on Wednesday - to fold up Saurashtra’s first innings quickly on Thursday.

Had it not been for Jackson’s resolute knock, Mumbai could well have tightened its grip despite adding just 13 runs to its overnight total of 249 for eight in the morning. When Jackson walked out to bat in the 22nd over, Saurashtra was 64 for two and offie Shashank Attarde was in the middle of a probing spell.

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Having enticed opener Harvik Desai into a return catch after beating him and Divyaraj Chauhan several times, Attarde soon bowled Chauhan through the gate with one that pitched and turned in sharply. At 77 for three at lunch, Saurashtra was in a spot of bother.

Jackson drops anchor

But Jackson and Vasavada showed their wealth of experience to not let either Attarde or left-arm spinn duo of Shams Mulani and Vinayak Bhoir settle into rhythm. It forced Mumbai captain Aditya Tare to reintroduce pace and eventually it was Dias who got one to jag back in on Vasavada and trap him lbw.

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Deshpande then unleashed his pace on Prerak Mankad and the all-rounder perished to a well-directed short-ball, nicking it to Tare on the cusp of tea.

At 173 for five, Jackson, having crossed his fifty by then, saw Jani ease the pressure on him as the duo waged a counter attack on the spinners after the break. Just when Jackson was cruising towards his third hundred of the season, having tucked Bhoir through on-side for a brilliant boundary, he edged the spinner to Tare.

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