Fine spell by Choudhary, Saurashtra on back foot


Chandigarh, February 2

A fine bowling performance by Punjab’s Vinay Choudhary in the second innings of the match against Saurashtra put the Ranji Trophy tie in an interesting phase.

In reply to Saurashtra’s first innings’ total of 303 runs, the Punjab lads posted 431 runs. At the end of the third day’s play, the hosts were 138/4 with a 10-run lead. Choudhary performed exceptionally well and accounted for three wickets to push the hosts to the back foot.

Earlier, resuming from their overnight total of 325/5, the Punjab batters pushed the total to 431 runs before getting allout in 125 overs. The overnight unbeaten pair of skipper Mandeep Singh and Anmol Malhotra started off the day well and raised a 72-run partnership for the 6th wicket. DA Jadeja once again emerged the saviour for the hosts as he claimed Malhotra’s wicket to reduce the side at 364/6. Malhotra contributed 41 off 77 balls, with six boundaries. Parth Bhut then swung into action and accounted for next-in Mayank Markande (6). However, Choudhary joined the skipper and raised yet another important partnership of 48 runs for the 8th wicket. Mandeep was just nine runs short of scoring the century, but Jadeja had him caught to dim Punjab hopes of achieving a big total.

The skipper scored 91 off 206 balls, studded with nine boundaries and one six. Choudhary also followed suit after adding crucial 18 off 51 balls, with two boundaries. He was caught by Prerak Mankad off Bhut at the team’s total of 428/9. Jadeja continued his attack as he claimed Punjab’s last wicket. He accounted for Baltej Singh (1), while Siddharth Kaul (1) remained unbeaten. Jadeja returned with impressive figures of 5/109, while Bhut claimed 3/114. Yuvrajsinh Dodiya took 2/71 for the bowling side.

Having a 128-run lead, the Punjab skipper was relaying very much on his bowlers. At the draw of the stumps, Choudhary managed to push back the hosts by reducing them to 138/4. The hosts were down to 60/4 as Choudhary accounted for H Desai (0), Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (4) and Sheldon Jackson (21), while Kaul claimed Snell Patel (33). However, AV Vasavada (44 of 100 balls, with three boundaries) and Chirag Jani (35 off 103 balls, with three boundaries) helped the hosts make a comeback. The duo raised an unbeaten 78-run partnership for the 5th wicket to ensure no more damages at the draw of the stumps.

On Wednesday, Punjab openers Prabhsimran Singh and Naman Dhir came up with brilliant centuries. Dhir contributed 131 off 180 balls, studded with nine boundaries and seven sixes, while Prabhsimran scored 126 off 158 balls, with 13 boundaries and three sixes. The duo was involved in a 212-run stand for the opening wicket partnership for Punjab.