Saurashtra has put themselves in a strong position in their Ranji Trophy final against Bengal on Tuesday.
All thanks to the defensive batting of Cheteshwar Pujara and Arpit Vasavada, which was described as a masterclass. Their five-hour partnership on day two has taken Saurashtra to 142 off 380 balls.
Bengal had a slight advantage on Monday after reducing Saurashtra to 206 and was worn down in the game.
Recall that Pujara (66 off 237) couldn’t continue batting after he retired hurt on day one due to fever. He had partnered with Vasavada (106 off 287) when they struck for two sessions and five overs helping the hosts reach 384 for eight at the close of play.
On Tuesday, Bengal got 178 runs in 79.1 overs and lost three wickets. Pujara was dismissed by speedster Mukesh Kumar. He also cleaned out Prerak Mankad (0) in the final session with the damage already done.
Bengal got their first wicket in the fifth over. Wriddhiman Saha, stumped hahbaz Ahmed to send back Vasavada.
Due to the condition of the pitch which Bengal coach, Arun Lal, had described as “very poor,” getting runs was difficult with Akash Deep getting three wickets on day one.
Pujara and Vasavada executed their plan by tiring out the bowlers and pouncing on the loose balls. Their stay in the middle was very effective but may not have been pleasing to the eye.
Vasavada helped his team with a bigger contribution to their cause with a back-to-back hundred and fourth of the season with great and composed play. His century included 11 fours.
Vasavada’s eighth first-class hundred was complimented with a commendable effort from Pujara too despite their first boundary coming in the 15th over of the day.
After bowling 80.5 overs on day one, Bengal took the new ball in the 86th over but still failed to find a breakthrough.
Pujara, who recorded 50 from 191 balls, had five boundaries while Saurashtra scored 133 runs in 58.1 overs in the morning and afternoon session.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed