Ranji Trophy quarterfinal: Kerala, Gujarat set up early finish on seaming track

Sanju Samson’s decision to come out with the bat with a broken finger typified the spirit of this young Kerala team, which has set a target of 195 for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

Sijomon Joseph made a brilliant half-century in testing conditions.   -  RANJITH PERALAM

A remarkable day of cricket threw up many a hero at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. But, the most heroic of them was dismissed without scoring.

Sanju Samson’s decision to come out with the bat with a broken finger stunned the opposition and the small number of spectators. But it typified the spirit of this young Kerala team, which has set a target of 195 for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

On a wicket that has been a dream for seamers and a nightmare for batsmen, it is a challenging score. One way or the other, this match should give us the first semifinalist of the competition on Thursday - with two full days to spare.

As it Happened

As many as 16 wickets fell on the second day. The last of them was that of Samson, who was adjudged lbw to left-arm spinner Axar Patel off what proved to be the last ball of the day.

He had survived nine balls and helped Jalaj Saxena (44 not out, 67b, 7x4) add eight runs for the final wicket. In a low-scoring match, those runs could be crucial.

One man the host would be indebted to is Sijomon Joseph, the left-arm spinner who was promoted up the order.

Coming in at one down, Sijomon made a fighting 56 after facing 148 balls; no other batsman so far has lasted even half as many.

Despite a broken finger, Sanju Samson came out to bat in the second innings.   -  RANJITH PERALAM


Roosh Kalaria was another hero of the day. After hitting a more than useful 36 in the morning, an innings that helped Gujarat reduce Kerala’s lead to just 23, he claimed a hat-trick; among those wickets was that of Sijomon, who missed the line and was bowled.

When Sandeep Warrier was trapped in front of the wickets by India discard leg-spinner Piyush Chawla on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium, everyone outside the Kerala dressing room thought the host’s second innings was over.

For, Sanju Samson’s ring finger on his right hand had been broken by a nasty ball from Gujarat’s left-arm seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla on the opening day, forcing him to retire hurt on 17.

But, out came Kerala’s most accomplished batsman, much to the loud cheer of the small crowd.

Batting with one hand, he survived nine balls and helped Jalaj Saxena extended Kerala’s lead by eight runs. “We are all inspired by Sanju’s courageous act,” said Sijomon Joseph, Kerala’s top-scorer. “That is why he is such a special batsman.”

Gujarat’s seamer Roosh Kalaria also applauded Samson. “We didn’t expect him to bat in the second innings,” he said. “It was remarkable.”

Earlier, Gujarat had resumed at the overnight 97 for four. The innings folded up 55 minutes before Lunch, with Kerala’s third seamer M.D. Nidheesh claiming three wickets in the 3.4 overs he bowled on Wednesday.

Sandeep Warrier was once again the leading wicket-taker for the host. The swing bowler finished with four for 42 from 23 overs to take his season’s tally to 35 wickets. His new-ball partner Basil Thampi picked up three wickets.

The scores:

Kerala – 1st Innings: P. Rahul b Gaja 26, Mohammed Azharuddeen b Kalaria 17, Sijomon Joseph c Parthiv b Nagwaswalla 8, Vinoop Manoharan c Parthiv b Gaja 25, Sachin Baby c Raval b Nagwaswalla 0, Sanju Samson (rtd ht) 17, Vishnu Vinod lbw b Kalaria 19, Jalaj Saxena b Nagwaswalla 14, Basil Thampi c Panchal b Gaja 37, M.D. Nidheesh c Chawla b Gaja 8, Sandeep Warrier (not out) 4, Extras (b-1, lb-9) 10; Total (for nine wkts. in 39.3 overs): 185.

Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-52, 3-52, 4-52, 5-98, 6-118, 7-146, 8-179, 9-185.

Gujarat bowling: Roosh Kalaria 13-3-62-2, Chintan Gaja 14.3-2-57-4, Arzan Nagwaswalla 11-2-50-3, Priyank Panchal 1-0-6-0.

Gujarat – 1st Innings: Kathan Patel c Azharuddeen b Warrier 1, Priyank Panchal b Warrier 8, Rahul Shah lbw b Thampi 15, Parthiv Patel b Thampi 43, Rujul Bhatt lbw b Warrier 14, Dhruv Raval b Thampi 17, Axar Patel b Warrier 1, Piyush Chawla b Nidheesh 10, Roosh Kalaria b Nidheesh 36, Chintan Gaja c sub (Arun Karthik) b Nidheesh 1, Arzan Nagwaswalla (not out) 0, Extras (b-7, lb-8, w-1) 16; Total ( in 51.4 overs): 162.

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-14, 3-66, 4-75, 5-101, 6-107, 7-107, 8-137, 9-143.

Kerala bowling: Sandeep Warrier 23-8-42-4, Basil Thampi 15-3-61-3, M.D. Nidheesh 11.4-1-38-3, Jalaj Saxena 2-0-6-0.

Kerala – 2nd Innings: P. Rahul c Kathan b Nagwaswalla 10, Mohammed Azharuddeen lbw b Gaja 0, Sijomon  Joseph b Kalaria 56, Vinoop Manoharan lbw b Axar 16, Sachin Baby c Bhatt b Axar 24, Vishnu Vinod c Kathan b Nagwaswalla 9, Jalaj Saxena (not out) 44, Basil Thampi c Nagwaswalla b Kalaria 0, M.D. Nidheesh b Kalaria 0, Sandeep Warrier lbw b Chawla 0, Sanju Samson lbw b Axar 0, Extras (b-5, lb-7) 12; Total (in 59 overs): 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-12, 3-44, 4-83, 5-96, 6-149, 7-149, 8-155, 9-163.

Gujarat bowling: Roosh Kalaria 17-5-36-3, Chintan Gaja 11-5-23-1, Arzan Nagwaswalla 13-4-40-2, Axar Patel 12-1-40-3, Piyush Chawla 6-0-20-1.

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