Ranji Trophy: Trunkwala ton earns Maharashtra a point

It was so near and yet so far for Saurashtra. After registering an imposing 657 for eight, it bundled out Maharashtra for 182 in its first innings but could only restrict the latter to 345 for eight on the follow-on in their Ranji Trophy group B match at the Dr. P.V.G. Raju-Andhra Cricket Association Sports Complex ground here on Sunday. From the drawn contest, Saurashtra gained three points and Maharashtra one.

Dharmendra Jadeja took four wickets for Saurashtra.   -  Basheer

It was so near and yet so far for Saurashtra. After registering an imposing 657 for eight, it bundled out Maharashtra for 182 in its first innings but could only restrict the latter to 345 for eight on the follow-on in their Ranji Trophy group B match at the Dr. P.V.G. Raju-Andhra Cricket Association Sports Complex ground here on Sunday. From the drawn contest, Saurashtra gained three points and Maharashtra one.

Murtaza Trunkwala held one end up completely for Maharashtra, shepherding it through the crucial first hour and almost the entire first session. With the target still ahead in the distance, he played cautiously, notching up his century in 204 balls, 19 boundaries studding his fighting effort.

Three more hits to the fence later, the 20-year old who could have taught his seniors a trick or two in batting endurance, became a victim of the slackness that sets in after entering three figures. A miscued off-drive off Jadeja ballooned upwards. Sheldon Jackson from mid-off moved in quickly to extra cover to end the centurion’s endeavour.

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The pace quartet of Shaurya Sanandia, Deepak Punia, Chirag Jani and Kushang Patel peppered their pace with some short pitched stuff through most of the morning. The batsmen read them well and ducked out of danger without difficulty. With the medium-pacers having little impact, Saurashtra resorted to spin, of the left arm variety, plied from both ends by Jadeja and Arpit Vasavada.

The latter did a good job with containment while the former, backed by a steadily closing in field, did the damage. From 222 for three at lunch, Maharashtra lost three top order wickets with just 10 runs added. After Trunkwala’s exit, Tripathi was rapped on the pads by Jadeja.

Ankit Bawne stretched his luck a little too much playing more often off the back foot and even survived a few vociferous appeals. Persisting with the same approach, he missed the line of a Jadeja delivery completely, which dislodged the bail.

The intensity of the Saurashtra campaign grew. The fielders backed the bowlers with constant encouragement and the latter duly delivered sooner or later. Chirag Khurana was lucky to survive a plumb leg before decision when Chirag Jani was found to have overstepped. The strapping speedster made amends not much later, this time resulting in the batsman’s dismissal.

To help Jadeja get his second five-fer of the match, a forward short leg, a silly point and two slips hemmed in the lower order Maharashtra batsmen, lying in wait for any false move. A silly mid-off was added when the southpaw switched to the Appala Raju end. From the G.V. Ramachandra Raju end, Cheteshwar Pujara turned his arm over too, his leg breaks adding variety to the attack.

With half the mandatory overs gone, Deepak Punia sent Vishant More’s off stump cart-wheeling. Akshay Dharekar too, Punia trapped in front. But by then the contest had drawn to a close.

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