Ranji Trophy: Rituraj Singh strikes it rich

It was Rituraj Singh’s day out at the Brabourne stadium here on Monday as the seamer struck it rich with a career-best haul of seven for 42 which, in turn, also helped Goa to restrict Kerala to a total of 342 in its first innings.

Rituraj Singh

Rituraj Singh (above) bowled his heart out and helped Goa back into the match in gallant fashion.   -  V. Ganesan

It was Rituraj Singh’s day out at the Brabourne stadium here on Monday as the seamer struck it rich with a career-best haul of seven for 42 which, in turn, also helped Goa to restrict Kerala to a total of 342 in its first innings.

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However, by close of the second day of the four-day Ranji Trophy match, Kerala was back in the saddle as it was able to contain its rival to 169 for six even as play was forced to be extended by half-an-hour due to the poor over-rate by its bowlers.

Resuming after an overwhelmingly cheery first day at its overnight total of 290 for two, Kerala was in for a surprise in the morning session as the 26-year-old Jaipur-born Rituraj bowled his heart out in tandem with Saurabi Bandekar and helped Goa back into the match in gallant fashion.

Kerala had little difficulty in getting past the 300-mark but thereafter it was a virtual procession as Rituraj and Bandekar struck repeatedly. Lending them good support was wicketkeeper Samar Dubhashi, who himself helped to as many five catches behind the wicket as Goa took eight Kerala wickets within the space of 91 minutes and 15.4 overs. Bandekar finished with figures of 2 for 77 maintaining a tight attack on the corridor just as Rituraj had the Kerala batsmen guessing all the time and forcing them to hara-kiri.

The Goan openers Sumran Amonkar and Swapnil Asnodkar began cautiously and were able to frustrate the Kerala bowling for a good 15.1 overs before medium-pacer C. V. Vinod Kumar separated the pair. Sandeep Warrier, at the other end, was a trifle unlucky on more than one occasion even as Vinod Kumar, who was capped by Kerala only in the last match against Haryana, emerged as the pick among his team bowler with a haul of three for 33.

Goa, even as Vinod Kumar struck repeatedly, was reduced for a healthy 46 for no loss to 109 for five at one time before Bandekar and Shadab Jakati came to its rescue by remaining unbeaten with a partnership of 42 at the end of the day.