Veteran Wasim Jaffer’s masterclass was a purists’ delight as Delhi’s strategy of preparing a result-oriented seaming track boomeranged with defending champions Vidarbha taking control on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy encounter.
On a track where players half his age were not able to cross 20-run mark, the former India opener, who is a month shy from being 42, scored 83 in his team’s meagre total of 179.
With ball jagging around all day in cold and windy conditions, former India U-19 seamer Aditya Thakare (4/14) polished the Delhi top-order in a five-over burst to reduce the hosts to 41/4 at stumps.
The match is expected to get over inside three days and Delhi will have to depend on the pair of Nitish Rana (3*) and Lalit Yadav (0*) to at least ensure a respectable first innings total.
Thakare got the bowl to swing both ways as the likes of captain Dhruv Shorey was deceived by away movement and Jonty Sidhu squared up by late swing.
The day belonged to Jaffer, who showed the technique to bat on a track where the trio of Ishant Sharma (3/45 in 14 overs), Simarjeet Singh (4/39 in 16.5 overs) and Kulwant Khejroliya (2/50 in 18 overs) made life miserable for other players.
Playing late and close to his body, Jaffer, coming in at No 3, followed the basics to the ‘T’ as his backfoot punch through the covers off Simrajeet and the off-drive off Ishant were visual treat.
There were 11 boundaries in all and he never really looked in trouble until Ishant bowled a beauty to clean him up. The next best score was 16 by Aditya Wakhare.
Ashwin, Mukund put TN on top
A superb performance by bowlers R Ashwin and M Siddharth and a ton by Abhinav Mukund gave Tamil Nadu the upper hand on the opening day of its Ranji Trophy match against Railways in Chennai on Sunday.
Electing to bat, the visiting team folded for 76 in 39.1 overs as the experienced Ashwin (4/26) and left-arm spinner Siddharth (4/32) ran through the railways batting order. At stumps, the hosts were sitting pretty at 236/4.
From 15 for no loss in the 8th over, the Railways batsmen came a cropper against Ashwin and Siddharth to be bundled out in the opening session of the game. It was a dismal display by the Railways batsmen as only three managed to reach double figures with Saurabh Singh (22) being the top-scorer.
Opener Mrunal Devdhar (5) was the first to go, caught by Ashwin off Siddharth with the total at 15 and then, the slide started. Vikranth Singh was the next to fall, caught by ‘keeper Dinesh Karthik off T Natarajan one run later.
Ashwin and Siddharth took seven of the next eight wickets to fall, spinning a web around the Railways batsmen. In reply, Abhinav Mukund (100) and fellow opener L Suryapprakash (50) provided Tamil Nadu a flying start as the left-right combination pounded the Railways attack.
Mukund was in his elements and cracked boundaries on both sides of the wicket and brought up a century in his 100th Ranji Trophy game. He hammered 12 fours and 3 sixes to put Tamil Nadu in control. However, Suryapprakash and Mukund were dismissed in the space of four balls with the score at 156.
The experienced Dinesh Karthik settled in nicely and was batting on a 55-ball 57 (5 fours, 2 sixes) to extend the team’s advantage with the lead having swelled to 160 runs at stumps.
Tiwary slams unbeaten 156
Former skipper Manoj Tiwary hit an unbeaten 156 and Shreevats Goswami a combative 95 as Bengal recovered from a shaky start to end day one a commanding 366/5 in Kalyani.
Desperate for an outright win to keep their qualifying hopes alive, Bengal, who chose Kalyani over Eden Gardens, found the going tough early on to be reduced to 60 for three inside 15 overs.
Opener A Raman fell for a duck in the fifth ball of the day, edging Ravi Kiran (2/47) behind the stumps after Bengal elected to bat. Abhimanyu Easwaran (12) continued his poor run while debutant Kazi Saifi, who was drafted in after his stupendous show at the U-23 level, could not convert his start to be dismissed for 27.
But it was Tiwary who showed a class act as he paced his innings beautifully to lead Bengal’s recovery. Number five Anustup Majumdar (59) also gave a fine support with 86-ball 59 (8x4) as the duo put on 112 runs for the fourth wicket.
“I will rate as one of my favourite innings, maybe in top-seven as I have five times double hundred before this. This knock was however very special. It came in a crucial stage,” Tiwary said after the day’s proceedings.
Aksh, Rinku give UP upper-hand
Uttar Pradesh batsman Aksh Deep Nath stuck an unbeaten hundred, which not only pulled his side out of trouble but also gave them an upper hand, on the opening day of their Elite Ranji Trophy Group B match against Mumbai.
Following an unbroken 137-run fifth-wicket stand between Nath (115 not out off 215 balls) and Rinku Singh (71 not out off 134 balls; 7x4), UP ended the day at a decent 281/4 after being 48/3 at one stage at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai pacers Akash Parkar (2/67) and Royston Dias (2/48) initially dominated proceeding but later Nath stuck a patient hundred to ensure Mumbai could not capitalise on the early advantage.
Medium-pacer Parkar gave a double-blow to Uttar Pradesh after dismissing openers Almas Shaukat (22) and young Aryan Juyal (17) to leave the visitors in a spot of bother at 48/2.
While Shaukat gave a catch to Shams Mulani at gully, Juyal was trapped in front of the wicket by Parkar as the two openers failed to convert a good start.
Left-arm pacer Royston Dias then clean bowled one-down batsmen Umang Sharma (2) as UP was reduced to 48/3. Sharma played onto the stumps.
In Delhi: Vidarbha 179 in 61.5 overs (Wasim Jaffer 83, Simarjeet Singh 4/39, Ishant Sharma 3/45). Delhi 41/4 (Aditya Thakare 4/14).
At Valsad: Gujarat 277/9 (Bharghav Merai 130, Siddarth Kaul 4/57, Baltej Singh 4/62).
At Thumba: Kerala 90 (Shubham Sharma 5/41). Rajasthan 173/4 (Jalaj Saxena 4/34).
Bengal 366/5 (Manoj Tiwary 156*, Shreevats Goswami 95, Anustup Majumdar 59) vs Hyderabad.
Uttar Pradesh 281/4 (Aksh Deep Nath 115 not out, Rinku Singh 71 not out; Royston Dias 2/48, Akash Parkar 2/67) vs Mumbai.
At Chennai: Railways 76 (Saurabh Singh 22; R Ashwin 4/26, M Siddharth 4/32) vs Tamil Nadu 236 for 4 in 53 overs (Abhinav Mukund 100, Dinesh Karthik 57 batting, L Suryapprakash (50) TN lead by 160 runs.
At Indore: Saurashtra 295/8 (Sheldon Jackson 143*; Cheteshwar Pujara 47; Gourav Yadav 4/84).
At Dharamshala: Himachal Pradesh 314/5 (A P Vashisht 86; P Chopra 56; Swapnil Singh 2/42) vs Baroda.
At Povorim: Goa 251 (Suyash Prabhudessai 90, Darshan Misal 54, Vijesh Prabhudessai 40*; Jagjit Singh 5/64, Shresth Nirmohi 3/38). Chandigarh three for no loss; two overs.
At Puducherry: Puducherry 209 (Sagar Trivedi 79*, Nabam Tempol 5/61, Akhilesh Sahani 4/77). Arunachal Pradesh 109/3 (Samarth Seth 64*).
At Sovima: Nagaland 166 (Imliwati Lemtur 41; Abhijeet Saket 3/19, Ashutosh Aman 3/65). Bihar 115/2 (Shasheem Rathour 46*).
At Mangaldoi: Meghalaya 235 (Dwaraka Ravi Teja 90, Puneet Bisth 66, Sanjay Yadav 44; Homendro Kabrambam 3/29, Rex Rajkumar 3/33). Manipur 18/7 (Sanjay Yadav 4/12, Abhay Negi 3/1).
At Bhubaneswar: Mizoram 201 (Taruwar Kohli 113; Iqbal Abdulla 5/78, Ishwar Chaudhary 3/65). Sikkim 107/4 (G Lalbiakvela 3/35).