Ranji Trophy: Kerala loses inside three days again

Sanju Samson’s exceptional talent had raised hopes of an unlikely Kerala victory, but once he fell, Gujarat romped home in no time.

A happy Gujarat team returning to the dressing room after beating Kerala by 90 runs with more than a day to spare in the Ranji Trophy match in Surat on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

For the second time in a row, Kerala slid to defeat inside three days.

Sanju Samson’s exceptional talent had raised hopes of an unlikely victory, but once he fell, Gujarat romped home in no time. The host won by 90 runs after lunch on Friday.

It was Gujarat’s second win in as many matches. It has now 12 points, while Kerala has just three.

The visiting side had begun the game on the right note, after dismissing Gujarat for just 127 on the opening day. Its first innings, however, folded up for just 70; it was always going to be difficult to come back after that, on a track that was assisting both seamers and spinners.

A target of 268 was no doubt a big ask in a low-scoring match, but Kerala had reasons to be hopeful when it resumed the third day at 26 without loss, that too under a bright sun, for a change. When Jalaj Saxena drove the first ball of the day gently through the off for a four, and scored another boundary with a short-arm pull to mid-wicket, Kerala was perhaps hopeful.

READ| Ranji Trophy, as it happened

A little later, Jalaj’s partner Vishnu Vinod played straight to Manprit Juneja’s hands at short leg off the impressive seamer Roosh Kalaria. S. Monish, promoted from No. 8 to No. 3, seemed determined to give Jalaj company until he edged Chintan Gaja behind the stumps.

Kerala slumped to 74 for four, losing three wickets for an addition of 17 runs. Robin Uthappa was taken aback when given lbw to Axar Patel.

Captain Sachin Baby joined Samson, who had hit the first ball he faced for a six. Their 55-run stand for the fifth wicket did revive Kerala’s chances.

But when it lost Samson and P. Rahul in successive overs, it was virtually all over. Kerala’s most prized wicket was taken by Axar, who had him caught at silly point. The left-arm spinner emerged the most successful bowler in the final innings with four for 50.

Gaja was declared Man-of-the-Match for his stunning 50 at No 10 and five wickets overall in two innings.

Surat: Gujarat 127 & 210 bt Kerala 70 & 177 in 50.3 overs (Sanju Samson 78, Axar Patel 4/50). Points: Gujarat 6, Kerala 0.

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