Irani Cup: Gujarat in control at end of Day 3

Priyank Panchal scored 73 to drive Gujarat past the 300-run lead
Tushar Garg

Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat claimed the upper hand on day 3 of the Irani Cup game against Rest of India (ROI).

Opener Priyank Panchal’s knock of 73 steadied the ship for the Ranji winners but leading wicket-taker of the season, Shahbaz Nadeem claimed four wickets to peg Gujarat back. A first-innings lead of 132 combined with Rest of India dropping as many as four catches to hand Gujarat the advantage at the end of day’s play as they sit on a lead 359 runs with 2 wickets remaining in their second innings.

Chirag Gandhi continued his good performances with the bat in the match. Gandhi followed up his magnificent 169 in the first innings with a fifty in the second essay He was unbeaten on 55 at stumps. The 26-year-old batsman will hope to extend Gujarat’s lead further on day 4 and bat ROI out of the match.

Panchal steadied the Gujarat innings after the early loss of Samit Gohel. The prolific opener put his head down and stitched two important partnerships – first with Dhruv Raval and then with the captain Parthiv Patel. Patel, though, was unlucky to be given out caught as the ball had clearly missed the bat and lobbed off the pad to square leg.

ROI bowlers toiled hard to restrict the Gujarat batsmen but were let down by their fielders. Karun Nair dropped two catches, Abhinav Mukund and Shahbaz Nadeem shelled one chance each, on what turned out to be an abysmal day for the ROI fielders.

Earlier, Rest of India, resuming at an overnight score of 206/9, were dismissed for 226 in the first innings to concede a 132-run lead. Chintan Gaja was the pick of the Gujarat bowlers finishing the innings with a 4-wicket haul. He found able support from Hardik Patel and Mohit Thadani as the bowlers did well to secure a vital first innings lead against a strong ROI batting lineup. ROI captain Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored for the team with 86 in the first innings.

With the lead already past the 350-run mark and a tricky Brabourne surface to contend with, the Parthiv Patel-led side will fancy their chances of completing a grand double by lifting the Irani Cup after their maiden Ranji Trophy title. Gujarat could become only the third team in the last 18 years to upstage the ROI team in the Irani Cup clash.

Edited by Staff Editor


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