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Saurashtra eyeing victory

Special Correspondent

Sandeep Jobanputra's day out

Rajkot: On an eventful day, Sandeep Jobanputra played a major role to place Saurashtra on the verge of victory in the Ranji Trophy Plate Group final against Rajasthan at the Madhavrao Scindia Stadium here on Saturday.

The slender boy hogged the limelight on the third day with the bat and ball. Sent into bat before the tail ender, he occupied the crease for nearly two hours, and struck a few hefty blows to hit a half-century (54, 98b, 3x4s, 2x6s). Afterwards he caused considerable damage bowling over the wicket and angling the ball to the right-handers to take all the five wickets in Rajasthan's second innings in a non-stop spell of fourteen overs.

Trailing by a substantial 207 runs in the first innings, the Rajasthan batsmen were all at sea and failed to negotiate the left-armer. At stumps, the visitor was 99 for five in reply to the home's team 408 compiled in over 11 hours. Rajasthan has to score another 108 runs to make the Saurashstra openers pad up again.

All-out attack

When play resumed on Saturday, Saurashtra gave a clear indication that it has seized control. The overnight seventh-wicket pair attacked the rival bowling freely. Benson Songavkar and Kamlesh Makwana added 34 runs to take their stand to 58 when seamer Pankaj Singh picked up the first of the three wickets and made an impression. The fall of the seventh-wicket brought in skipper Jaydev Shah, who retired hurt on Friday on 51.

Shah looked in good nick and notched his second National championship hundred. He left the scene disappointed after making 83 (123 ball, 15x4s). But Saurashtra surpassed its expectations with a last-wicket stand of 59 runs, before Jobanputra really put it in a commanding position.

Rajasthan's Dishant Yagnik had a good outing as keeper and held seven catches.

The scores:

Rajasthan — 1st innings: 201

Saurashtra — 1st innings: K. Waghela c Yagnik b Gehlot 34, S. Jogiyane c Yagnik b Afroz 58, P. Joshi c Yagnik b Afroz 0, J. Shah c Beerala b Kanwat 83, S. Kotak c Yagnik b Kanwat 10, N. Rathod c Yagnik b Khoda 31, B. Songaonkar c Yagnik b Pankaj Singh 52, R. Dhruv lbw b Afroz 6, K. Makwana c Yagnik b Pankaj Singh 39, S. Jobanputra c Jadeja b Pankaj Singh 54, S. Maniar not out 12, Extras (b-6, lb-2, nb-19, w-2) 29. Total (in 157.2 overs) 408.

Fall of wickets: 1-85, 2-89, 3-109, 4-170, 5-211, 6-226, 7-284, 8-323, 9-349.

Rajasthan bowling: Gehlot 34-8-93-1, Pankaj Singh 39.2-9-114-3, Aslam 19-6-35-0, Afroz 33-5-86-3, Kanwat 22-8-36-2, Sharma 5-1-29-0, Jadeja 3-0-5-0, Khoda 2-1-2-1.

Rajasthan — 2nd innings: M. Beerala b Jobanputra 9, R. Sharma b Jobanputra 10, N. Doru lbw b Jobanputra 18, G. Khoda c Jogiyane b Jobanputra 0, R. Kanwat c Kotak b Jobanputra 8, D. Yagnik (batting) 21, A. Jadeja (batting) 21, Extras (lb-6, nb-4, w-2) 12. Total (for five wickets. in 33 overs) 99.

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-33, 3-43, 4-43, 5-64.

Saurashtra bowling: Maniar 13-3-40-0, Jobanputra 14-3-44-5, Dhruv 4-1-7-0, Makwana 2-0-2-0.

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