Ranji Trophy: Priyank century rescues Gujarat against TN

Gujarat's Priyank Panchal scored a century to lead Gujarat to 267 for 7 on Day One of its Ranji Trophy Group A tie against Tamil Nadu in Belagavi.

Priyank Panchal became the first Gujarat batsman to cross 1,000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season.   -  Basheer (File Photo)

Priyank Panchal's 113 (180b, 17x4) took Gujarat to 267 for seven on Day One of the ninth and final round the Ranji Trophy at the KSCA stadium here on Wednesday.

Priyank became the 17th player overall, and first from Gujarat to accumulate 1,000 runs in a Ranji season. The 26-year old has taken 11 innings to reach the mark, the fewest by any player since 2000-01. Opting to bat, Gujarat accrued 102 for two in the 32 overs before lunch.

After openers Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohil added 55 runs for the first wicket, Aswin Crist had the latter caught at midwicket. Bhargav Merai, who was in next, and Priyank sought to build on.

Priyank got to his fifty with eight fours off 67 balls. The last of the fours - he stepped out to left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas and let loose a laid-back drive to deep cover - indicated that he had eased up, and got well-assured with time, both to play strokes and to stay put. Aushik persisted with a short leg and slip for Priyank, and in brief, stuck to bowling only on the leg side with a short fine leg in place.

K. Vignesh, who bowled in tandem with Aushik, had two slips - the second one wide as a fourth slip - and an occasional silly mid-off.

But, it took Vijay Shankar, who replaced Vignesh in the attack, to end the 34-run partnership. He had Bhargav out, leg before wicket - the ball hit high on the pads, and pushed through to the 'keeper. Encouraged by the bounce, Vijay was accorded a gully, to go with the two slips, from his next over. Left-hander Rujul Bhatt was the next batsman in, and Vijay, at times, switched to bowl over the wicket to him.

Priyank steers ship

Rujul didn't bat long, and a lofted four to deep midwicket, when he went down on his knee to Aushik, was the most remarkable moment of his stay. He was out, leg before wicket, to T. Natarajan after lunch. A 67-run fourth wicket partnership between Manpreet Juneja and Priyank ensued. The former was trapped plumb in front by Aushik for his only wicket of the day.

Thereon, Priyank got to his fourth century of the season with 15 fours in 167 balls. He forged a 40-run fifth wicket partnership with Dhruv Raval, and helped his team past 200. He was out bowled by Baba Aparajith who slid a ball past his defence to not let his long innings any longer ahead.

Aparajith and Natarajan picked up a wicket each thereafter.