Irani Cup: Chirag Gandhi's maiden first-class ton lifts Gujarat on Day 1 against Rest of India

Pankaj Singh
Pankaj Singh was brilliant with the new ball

Honours were shared at the end of Day 1 in the ongoing Irani Trophy clash between Gujarat and Rest of India. Gujarat batsman Chirag Gandhi compiled a gritty century on a tricky Brabourne pitch and ensured that the defending Ranji Champions ended the day fairly confident of their chances.

For Rest of India, fast bowler Pankaj Singh and Siddarth Kaul picked up seven of the eight wickets to fall. Gujarat ended the day at 300 for 8.

Captain Parthiv Patel won the toss and elected to bat first on a flat looking pitch, but the openers did not quite do justice to the captain’s call. Openers Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohel could not muster a solid opening stand. They were reduced to 81 for 3, and the ROI bowlers were getting favourable assistance from the pitch.

Also read: Pankaj Singh will definitely make a comeback into Indian team, feels Cheteshwar Pujara

Gandhi, however, dug deep and struck 18 fours and a six in his 159-ball innings. His innings was replete with a number of cuts and drives, and what stood out was his ability to play the ball late. He forged a defiant partnership with Manprit Juneja and together the duo put together a 109-run stand for the fifth wicket. This ensured Gujarat’s innings did not wither away altogether. Juneja was taken out by the part-time off-spinner Akhil Herwadkar for 47.

Earlier, Pankaj Singh and Siddharth Kaul extracted good movement from the pitch and troubled Gujarat’s top order. The top run-scorers for Gujarat were whisked out by Pankaj and Kaul in the first session.

Both seam bowlers were brilliant with their lines and lengths, and asked plenty of questions, the answers to which could not be found by Gujarat’s top order. Siddarth Kaul finished with 4-77 and Pankaj Singh ended with 3-77.

Jharkhand spinner and the leading wicket-taker of the season, Shahbaz Nadeem did not quite look as effective, but he kept things fairly quiet at one end, which allowed the other bowlers to attack from the other end.

There were a few fielding lapses from Rest of India as Karun Nair and Siddharth Kaul shelled a couple of chances in the field. This allowed Gujarat to creep and get to a fairly decent score of 300 at the end of the day. Also, the captaincy of Cheteshwar Pujara looked convincing as he managed his resources very well, and also had few tricks up his sleeve.

Chirag Gandhi got to his century from 125 balls, and towards the end of the day he was accompanied by Hardik Patel (9). Rest of India have already taken the second new ball, and they would want to wipe out the tail early on the second morning.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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