India opener Shikhar Dhawan made a solid return from injury, scoring a thrilling hundred at home to take Delhi to 269/6 at the close of play in their Ranji Trophy third round match against Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Dhawan, captaining Delhi in this game, waged a lone battle for Delhi after returning from an injury layoff and was unbeaten at 137 at the close of play. None of the other batsmen crossed 30. Pacer Mohammed Siraj dented the Delhi batting order with two early wickets after Hyderabad opted to bowl first.
Dhawan was at his fluent best but got a life when he was on 67. He didn’t look back and brought up his century with a flurry of big hits. The southpaw hit 19 fours and two sixes in his 198-ball knock.
The opening day of the third round fixtures was otherwise dominated by the bowlers. Karnataka, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu had miserable outings with the bat. Railways’s T Pradeep and Madhya Pradesh’s Ishwar Pandey picked up six wickets. Also entering the six-wickets club was Odisha’s Basant Mohanty as Uttarakhand folded up cheaply.
There was an anti-climactic start to the action on Christmas day with Jasprit Bumrah’s much-anticipated return to action for Gujarat in their encounter against Kerala in Surat not materialising. However, in a topsy-turvy game, 20 wickets fell in the day and by the final session, Gujarat had already started their second innings and have a vital lead of 58. There won’t be any surprises if the match ends before stumps on day two.
Here is a brief recap of how the day unfolded:
20 wickets fall in Surat
The Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat had produced plenty of high-scoring encounters during the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. But batsmen were disposable goods on Wednesday and a procession followed. An incredible 20 wickets fell in the day, which was set to be headlined by Bumrah’s return from a long-term injury, only for Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly to step in and rule out the former from playing.
Kerala won the toss and opted to bowl and everything seemed to go according to plan as a Jalaj Saxena’s five-wicket haul helped the visitors bundle out Gujarat for just 120. Kerala’s tryst with the bat was worse; only opener P Rahul (17) and Robin Uthappa (26) got into double figures and were bowled out for 70.
Pradeep runs through Mumbai
The stardust in the form of dashing young opener Prithvi Shaw and Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane did little to alter Mumbai’s fate. The 41-time champions had a poor outing after being put into bat at the Wankhede Stadium by Railways.
Only skipper Suryakumar Yadav (39) showed a semblance of a fight as T Pradeep picked up a six-for. Mumbai were shot out for just 114. The home side fought back well and reduced Railways to 43/5 but Arindam Ghosh (52*) and Karn Sharma’s (24*) vigil gave their side a slender two-run lead when stumps were drawn.
Mumbai 114 (Suryakumar Yadav 39, Jay Bista 21; T Pradeep 6/37) vs Railways 116/5 (Arindam Ghosh 52*, Karn Sharma 24*, Deepak Shetty 3/20).
Batting failures for Karnataka and TN
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were left to rue batting failures as both teams failed to get past the 200-run mark in their respective matches.
Batting collapses cost TN dearly in their first two rounds and it was the same story in Indore against Madhya Pradesh. Pacer Pandey was the star of the show as only G Sridhar Raju and Baba Aparajith put up a fight. The visitors were bundled out for 149.
Tamil Nadu picked up three wickets before the close of play with left-armer T Natarajan getting two to his name.
For Karnataka, skipper Karun Nair scored a battling 81 as he watched side put up just 166 on the board in Mysore. Karnataka, though, picked up three Himachal Pradesh wickets.
Tamil Nadu 149 (B Aparajith 61*, V Ganga Sridhar 43; Ishwar Pandey 6/26, Avesh Khan 2/34) vs Madhya Pradesh 56/3 (Rameez Khan 23*, Rajat Patidar 13; T Natarajan 2/23).
Raman scores second ton in a row
Left-handed opener Abhishek Raman held the Bengal innings together with a gritty unbeaten 110, taking the hosts to 241/4 against Andhra on day one in Kolkata. Raman survived some anxious moments especially in the 90s before pulling KV Sasikanth over square leg to score his second successive century.
Raman, who scored 110 in Bengal’s win over Kerala in their previous match, got good support from former skipper Manoj Tiwary as they revived the innings in the post-lunch session after being reduced to/2.
While Raman batted through the day, facing 255 balls, Tiwary too was at his fluent best, striking a six and six fours. They added quick 87 runs for the third wicket before Tiwary was done in by a short one from CV Stephen, the most impressive Andhra bowler. Andhra set Tiwary up well with short-pitched deliveries as he top-edged one to get out for 46. “I’m sure he will not sleep well tonight. He could have converted it into a big one,” Bengal coach Arun Lal said of Tiwary’s dismissal.
“It was a tactic as they bowled him short without a slip. He [Tiwary] played well and his contribution with Raman took the team forward. He’s not the player to leave it at 46.”
Bengal 241/4 (Abhishek Raman 110*, Manoj Tiwary 46; CV Stephen 2/60) vs Andhra.
Karnataka 166 (Karun Nair 81, Shreyas Gopal 27; KD Singh 5/37, Rishi Dhawan 3/27) vs Himachal Pradesh 29/3 (P Khanduri 14*, Pratik Jain 2/11, Koushik V 1/10).
Saurashtra 322/8 (Cheteshwar Pujara 57, Shelon Jackson 57, Saurabh Kumar 1/79, Zeeshan Ansari 3/125) vs Uttar Pradesh.
Uttarakhand 117 (Basant Mohanty 6/17) vs Odisha 98/3 in 39 overs (Biplab Samantray 35*, Shantanu Mishra 30*).
Tripura 126 (Nirpuam Sen 54; Diwesh Pathania 5/36) vs Services 23/2.
Haryana 274/6(C Bishnoi 75*, Ankit Kumar 53, Shivam Chauhan 53, Harshal Patel 44*) vs Jharkhand.
Jammu and Kashmir 59/1 vs Assam.
Maharashtra 238/6 (Ruturaj Gaikwad 108, Vishant More 49*; Veer Pratap Singh 4/56) vs Chhattisgarh.