Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat hold the upper hand against Rest of India at the end of day 2 of the 2017 Irani Trophy which is taking place at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai. When the stumps were drawn on the second day, RoI were trailing Gujarat by 152 runs with a wicket in hand.
After dismissing Gujarat in the first session of day 2, RoI lost the wicket of opener Abhinav Mukund early as the Tamil Nadu skipper was caught by Samit Gohil in the slip cordon off the bowling of Chintan Gaja for just 8. Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara and Akhil Herwadkar brought things back on track by putting on a 68-run partnership for the second wicket. Herwadkar looked good for a big knock but was dismissed by Hardik Patel with 2 runs short of his fifty.
One of India’s two triple-centurions in Tests, Karun Nair, tried to revive the innings with a 45-ball 28 before Gaja came back and had him caught behind with a brilliant in-swinger. Pujara continued his good form by reaching his fifty off 88 balls. It was when Rest of India had a batting collapse as Mohit Thadani struck twice in quick time. First, he trapped experienced Manoj Tiwary in front for 12 before accounting for yet another Bengal batsman, Wriddhiman Saha for a duck.
This was a crucial match for Saha, who is returning from a thigh injury that he sustained against England, as this match acts as a perfect audition for both Saha and Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel for the role wicketkeeper-batsmen in the Indian Test team.
Kuldeep Yadav couldn’t save his team from blushes as he was dismissed by Hardik Patel for 5. Few balls later, Ishwar Chaudhary got the prize wicket of Pujara for 86 when the right-hander tried to pull a short delivery and edged it straight to Parthiv behind the stumps. Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddharth Kaul departed in quick-time without troubling the scorers. Pankaj Singh and Md Siraj scored few crucial runs towards the end and finished day 2 at 206/9, still trailing the Ranji champions by 152 runs. Hardik and Gaja took three wickets apiece for Gujarat.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat were dismissed for 358 in their first innings, thanks to Chirag Gandhi’s 169 and some useful contributions from Hardik and Ishwar, who scored an unbeaten 18 and 15 respectively. Sid Kaul bagged a fifer while Pankaj Singh took four wickets.
Gujarat’s main objective on day 3 will be dismissing Rest Of India early with a big lead and will look to bat out Rest of India from the match just like they did in the quarter-finals against Odisha. Pujara will expect his bowlers to deliver on day 3 to get back into the match and defend the title they won last year.
Brief scores: Rest of India 206/9 (Cheteshwar Pujara 86, Chintan Gaja 3-46, Hardik Patel 3-73) trailing Gujarat 358 (Chirag Gandhi 169, Siddharth Kaul 5-86, Pankaj Singh 4-104) by 152 runs.