Arpit Vasavada worked his way to a pleasing century (126 not out, 267b, 13×4, 1×6) as Saurashtra finished the day at 346 for six against Tamil Nadu on the third day of their Group B Ranji Trophy clash at the SCA Stadium here on Friday.
Resuming at 107 for three, the host batsmen Vasavada and Avi Barot were circumspect for most part of the morning session. The Tamil Nadu bowlers, desperate for wickets, went flat out. Pacemen K. Vignesh and M. Mohammed bowled with a lot of fire, both of them hitting the deck time and again in a bid to unsettle the left-right combo of Vasavada and Barot, but the two stood firm.
The first hour saw runs come at a trickle, with the batsmen scoring at only two runs an over and knowing that they had a lot of time on their hands in pursuit of Tamil Nadu’s 424. Barot (82, 206b, 10×4, 1×6) and Vasavada took the hosts to 194 for three at lunch, their fourth-wicket partnership stretching to 108.
Vignesh, who had bent his back and extracted extra pace and bounce on a featherbed, found the crucial breakthrough. He removed the in-form Barot, the batsman’s attempt to glide the ball down the leg-side landing in wicketkeeper N. Jagadeesan’s gloves.
Soon after, Mohammed welcomed Samarth Vyas with a short-pitched delivery. Samarth went for the pull and offered the simplest of catches to Kaushik Gandhi at square-leg. Left-arm spinner M. Siddharth soon trapped Prerak Mankad in front.
Rising to the challenge
The three quick wickets put the visitors on a high and Saurashtra on the backfoot. But Vasavada rose to the challenge, taking control of the innings and also reaching the coveted three-figure. In Chirag Jani (47 batting), he found an able partner who was willing to battle it out.
The two forged an unbeaten 104-run stand for the unbroken seventh wicket, their association threatening to take the game away from Tamil Nadu in the race for first innings honours.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 424.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: Harvik Desai c Sai Kishore b Vignesh 12, Kishan Parmar c Sinivas b Sai Kishore 24, Avi Barot c Jagadeesan b Vignesh 82, Vishvaraj Jadeja c Sinivas b Siddharth 16, Arpit Vasavada (batting) 126, Samarth Vyas c Kaushik b Mohammed 10, Prerak Mankad lbw b Siddharth 13, Chirag Jani (batting) 47; Extras (nb-6, w-1, b-6, lb-3): 16; Total (for six wkts. in 126 overs): 346.
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-45, 3-87, 4-195, 5-213, 6-242.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Vignesh 25-5-57-2, Mohammed 22-8-58-1, Sai Kishore 28-4-73-1, Sinivas 17-2-55-0, Siddharth 22-3-64-2, Aparajith 10-3-23-0, Ganga Sridhar 1-0-6-0, Kaushik 1-0-1-0.