It’s as easy as breathing to accept that for a viewer multi-day cricket is the most unpredictable of all forms of cricket. It lets you relax and breathe easy, even slouch and yawn, and suddenly stir and gasp!
At the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) stadium here on Sunday, a few impatient kids chanted “Wiiick-ate, Wiiick-ate” even as early as half an hour after the start of first day of the Irani Cup 2023. They gamely kept at it, occasionally going off like cooker whistle.
They were adequately rewarded in the second session. With each wicket that Saurashtra took, their shelled-in exclusive partisan glee was cracked open to spill over.
For, the first session was such. Rest of India (RoI) skipper Hanuma Vihari won the toss and opted to bat, and openers Mayank Agarwal (32, 53b, 6x4) and Sai Sudharsan (72, 164b, 7x4) gathered 69 runs off 112 balls. For his six fours, Mayank square drove, cover drove, played inside-out, swept, and danced down the track, and it was all merry. That’s why, when he was dismissed caught at slip off left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Mayank yelped and grunted in frustration on his way back.
Sudharsan was largely assured. He barely swept and stepped out of the crease. He played an uppish drive between the midwicket and mid on fielders off Chirag Jani, cover drove Prerak Mankad, pulled off-spinner Yuvrajsinh Dodiya to the midwicket boundary, and cut Jadeja for fours.
He had his struggle as well - edged for four to no man’s land, beaten, unsettled by unexpected bounce at times, and was drawn out of his crease for the keeper to miss gathering the ball and get him stumped off the spinners. There was turn and the occasional steeper bounce.
Aptly, the spinners proved to be more effective in the second session that yielded four wickets for 79 runs off 30 overs. Three more fell in the third as left-arm spinner Parth Bhut finished the day with four for 85.
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