Ranji Trophy: Virat, Kushagra centuries put Jharkhand on top vs Nagaland in pre-quarters

Inserted in, Jharkhand exploited the Nagaland bowlers’ lack of discipline to cruise to a formidable 402 for five and looked forward to posting a massive aggregate to gain more ground.

Jharkhand's Virat (in picture) and Kushagra built a substantial partnership of 175 runs in only 213 deliveries.   -  PTI

Virat Singh and Kumar Kushagra’s excellent centuries took Jharkhand to a comfortable position against Nagaland on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal match at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

Inserted in, Jharkhand exploited the Nagaland bowlers’ lack of discipline to cruise to a formidable 402 for five and looked forward to posting a massive aggregate to gain more ground.

Nagaland’s poor fielding, highlighted by the dropped catches and overthrows, also helped Jharkhand.

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Jharkhand was off to a good start, scoring 60 for one in the first hour, as the Nagaland new ball bowlers could not make the most of the movement on offer from the surface early in the morning.

Chopsie Hopongkyu provided the breakthrough as Nazim Siddiqui (28) edged one to the keeper in the 14 over.

Shrikant Mundhe had Utkarsh Singh (36) caught at first slip in the next over.

However, Nagaland’s joy was short-lived as Kumar Suraj (66, 91b, 11x4, 1x6) and captain Saurabh Tiwary (29) added 62 runs to strengthen Jharkhand’s position. 

Tiwary was trapped in front by his opposite number Rongsen Jonathon.

Suraj, who found the gaps nicely, gathered 60 more with Virat before being adjudged lbw off leg-spinner Khirevitso Kense.

Nagaland relied on the variety in its attack, but suffered due to the absence of consistency in line and length from its bowlers.

The left-right combination of Virat (107, 155b, 13x4) and Kushagra (112 batting, 111b, 16x4, 1x6) scored at a faster rate. They played some good looking shots while building a substantial partnership of 175 runs in only 213 deliveries.

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The fifth wicket partnership gave Jharkhand a firm control over the match.

Virat drove and cut beautifully on his way to his fifth hundred before being held at the first slip off left-arm spinner Imliwati Lemtur.

Playing his third match, 17-year-old Kushagra, who got a ‘life’ on 10, excelled with his impeccable timing and placement. The wicketkeeper-batsman unleashed some fine shots, including a few flowing drives, on either side of the wicket and brought up his hundred with a pulled four.

He remained unbeaten with Anukul Roy (21) at the end of the day’s play.

The scores:

 Jharkhand 402/5 in 87 overs (Kumar Kushagra 112 batting, Virat Singh 107, Kumar Suraj 66, Utkarsh Singh 36) vs Nagaland.

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