Ranji Trophy, Round 5, Day 4: Review of the performances of Indian internationals
Round 5 of the ongoing Ranji Trophy has concluded and the presence of several Indian International players clubbed with a lot of promising young players made it perhaps the most riveting round of this particular season.
This round also marked Mumbai cricket's 500th Ranji fixture, but the team stumbled on the first day and after a lot of effort they finally managed to drag Baroda to a draw, not before conceding a crucial first-innings total.
Also, Tamil Nadu managed to concede a first-innings lead to Odisha in an absolute humdinger which has effectively ended their title hopes this season.
Several Indian Test players turned up for this particular round to gain some invaluable match-practice before the Test series against Sri Lanka commences.
Murali Vijay showed glimpses of his form when he crafted an exquisite century against Odisha. Vijay, who was asked by the selection committee to play in the match as an audition for the opener's slot in the Test team drove home a strong message as he scored 140 in Tamil Nadu's first-innings.
Shifting our focus to the giants of Ranji Trophy, Mumbai who stumbled, stuttered, and finally dragged on to stay relevant in their 500th Domestic game.
After having being skittled out for a paltry 171 in their first innings, they escaped with a solitary point when they eeked out a draw against an inspired Baroda.
Stalwarts like Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer failed in the first innings as they could manage scores of 0 and 28 respectively.
Iyer, who recently made his debut for India in the T20 playing eleven could only muster 8 in his second dig. Rahane looked more fluent and played some pleasing strokes but was castled for a bright 45.
Down south in Alur, Karnataka took on Delhi in a match which ended in a draw. Karnataka got 3 points, while Delhi took home a solitary point.
Vijay's opening partner in KL Rahul looked nice and positive during his stay as he scored a bright 92 off 109 runs in the second innings.
Other Karnataka players in Manish Pandey and Karun Nair had decent outings too.
Pandey notched up scores of 74 and 34, while Nair after a failure in the first innings (15) remained unbeaten on 33 in the second essay.
Rahul's form is great news for the Indian cricket team as both him and Vijay have driven home their names for the opening slot in the series against Sri Lanka.
For Delhi, Gautam Gambhir shone with the bat as he slammed a century in the first innings and during his knock of 144, he looked very much of his old self out in the centre.
However, Delhi captain Rishabh Pant who has had an underwhelming season so far started brightly, but could only manage 41 runs in his innings.
However, the abysmal form of Suresh Raina continued as the Uttar Pradesh skipper could only manage scores of 6 and 33 in the two innings. However, his team did earn 3 points from the match as a result of the first innings lead, but these are desperate times for Raina.
In Kalyani, West Bengal, Team India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha was at his dogged best as he returned with scores of 0 and 97 in the two innings, but his efforts fell by the wayside as Vidarbha romped home to a win by 10 wickets, thus sealing the number 1 berth in Group D.
From the East, we now hop across to the west, where Ravindra Jadeja endured a very tough match in Rajkot with both bat and ball.
He could only score 8 runs with the bat and had only a single wicket to show for all his efforts.
However, Cheteshwar Pujara is back to what he does best. After a rather iffy start, Pujara has gone back into his groove as he followed a double century in the previous match with an equally gritty 182 in this effort.