Ranji Trophy: Jharkhand consolidates via Virat, Ishank

Virat Singh and Ishank Jaggi put on 146 runs for the fourth wicket on Day Two to put Jharkhand in command against Haryana on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Vadodara.

Ishank Jaggi (left) and Virat Singh walk off at stumps, having rescued their side well from 82 for three.   -  S. Dipak Ragav

Unbeaten half-centuries from Virat Singh and Ishank Jaggi put Jharkhand in a commanding position on Day Two of its quarterfinal clash against Haryana at the Moti Bagh stadium here on Saturday.

>Scorecard

The duo put on an unbeaten 146-run stand for the fourth wicket after their team was reduced to 82 for three. Virat was batting on 81 (240b, 10x4, 1x6) while Ishank made 77 (149b, 11x4) in a finely crafted partnership that started slowly before the duo plundered Haryana’s spinners. Jharkhand was positioned at 228 for 3 at stumps.

Resuming the day on 251 for seven, Haryana threw away the last three wickets in six overs with batsmen showing a lack of application and going for expansive shots, adding only seven runs to the overnight total. Shahbaz Nadeem picked up the first two wickets of the day and finished with a seven-wicket haul while pacer Rahul Shukla claimed the other wicket.

Jharkhand went to lunch at 70 for two, after Haryana leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Amit Mishra removed openers Anand Singh and Sumit Kumar.

Chahal removed Singh when the latter tried to play against the turn only to offer a simple return catch, while Mishra produced a classic leg-spinning delivery to dismiss Kumar caught behind.

Post lunch, Jharkhand lost skipper Saurabh Tiwary when Harshal Patel came around the wicket; the left-hander tried to play to the leg side and instead edged it to Rajat Paliwal, who took a fine catch at first slip, diving to his left.

Sensible play

The left-handed Virat drove well square of the wicket against leg-spinners Mishra and Chahal, and played with soft hands whenever there was extra bounce, to ensure the close-in fielders did not come into play. In the final over before tea, Virat used his feet to off-spinner Paliwal to find the long-off boundary to get to his fifty.

At the other end, Ishank, who leads the run charts for Jharkhand this season, used his experience as he kept scoring at a fair clip while guiding the young Virat. He got to his half-century post-tea with two boundaries in one over – first a pull and then a wristy shot off his pads to find the mid-wicket fence off Chahal.

With just thirty runs behind Haryana and few more strong batsmen in the hut, Jharkhand will fancy a lead in excess of 150 to seal its maiden semifinal berth in the tournament.