Rajkot: Harbhajan Singh opened the bowling for Punjab on a cold morning, and Siddharth Kaul operated from the press box end. Sheldon Jackson took off from where he left on day one, making full use of the deliveries pitched on driving length. The 26-year old went on to play a nice-looking cut shot to get to his third First Class century. His helmet came off, and onto the left hand, bat in the other, eyes fixed on the dressing room. A celebration that was duly acknowledged by his mates in the dressing room, amidst the cheers of the schoolchildren below the pavilion.
Jackson’s joy was shortlived as bete noire Siddharth Kaul sent one swinging in, and with the feet stuck at the crease, the ball had no trouble saying hello to the stumps. It was an act of redemption for Kaul, for he had the right-hander caught off a no-ball towards the end on Day 1. Non-striker Kamlesh Makvana, whose batting elegance can be mistaken for that belonging to Wasim Jaffer, got his eye in, bringing up his fifty with a boundary off Harbhajan. The man’s cut shot in particular is a cut above the rest, and he used it well against the off-spinner.
ALSO SEE: Day 1 | Agarkar, Tare strike hundreds
It was clear that Makvana was the man to get, and Punjab’s players made it a point to press the throttle in their throats, off leg-before-wickets appeals to which the umpires offered a deaf ear. The frustration was clearly visible on Kaul’s face when Vishal Joshi guided a ball through the gap between slips and gully for four. As the brooms got to work on the pitch, Saurashtra were 398/6 at lunch.
With their tummies full, Singh and Ladda got to work, and it was interesting to see a fielder with his helmet on at short cover. Clearly a silly point fielder, who moved to forward short leg, when the bowling changed ends. These lads sure do know how to conserve energy. 400 by now was already a foregone conclusion, but for Punjab it was clear that the underdogs had shown enough bite with their batting. The lone scoreboard at the western end of the stadium was suddenly turning into a car dashboard, despite the batsmen playing with their feet on the brakes.
But then lady luck sometimes decides to look the other way. Makvana who was batting on 85, was unlucky when the umpire gave him out, assuming contact between the bat and pad to be an edge, which went off keeper Kaul’s amphibian gloves, and into Ravi Inder Singh’s hands in the slips. The right-hander took his time to leave, but with the umpires keen on looking for a no-ball, it was clear that two wrongs wouldn’t turn into a right. Sarabjit Ladda’s shriek of happiness was louder than the match bell.
Jaydev Unadkat was dropped by Amitoze Singh, but fell after playing a tail-ender’s slog. Sandeep Sharma running back from mid-off, falling on his head to take a catch, that gave Ladda his second wicket. Joy and pain together in the act of putting together Punjab’s eighth wicket off the match. Harbhajan Singh couldn’t keep his hat on his head, when Dharamsinh Jadeja wasn’t given out. But the batsman walked, off the very next ball, when the ball kissed the bat and made its way into the keeper’s hands. No.11 Siddharth Trivedi did the duck walk as expected. Vishal Joshi remained unbeaten on a gritty score of 55.
Saurashtra were 477 all out at 03:30 P.M. At ten minutes to five, Jiwanjot Singh and Ravi Inder Singh made their way out, after taking Punjab to 41/0. The former dropped by Jackson on 11. Day 2 ended with dark clouds announcing bad light to everyone present. On day three, Punjab will be looking to show that they can be ‘second-best’ can be good in Ranji Trophy cricket.
As a footnote, chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil was watching.
Quick Quote: It’s a one-ball game. Will get to know where the game is heading on day three. I am happy that we managed to make 477 without two main players. It was a tremendous batting show. We played well. — Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra
Saurashtra 1st innings (Overnight: 274-5)
S Kotak c Mandeep Singh b Harbhajan Singh 54
S Jogiyani b S Kaul 5
R Dave c U Kaul b S Kaul 16
J Shah c Sandeep Sharma b Bipul Sharma 87
S Jackson not out 107
A Vasavada lbw b Kohli 8
K Makvana not out 85
Vishal Joshi 55 not out
Jaydev Unadkat c Sandeep Sharma b Ladda 9
Dharmendrasinh Jadeja c Uday Kaul b Ladda 17
Siddharth Trivedi c Uday Kaul b Harbhajan Singh 0.
Extras (b 18, lb 7, w 2, nb 7)
Total (477 all out after 155 overs).
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-58, 3-150, 4-194, 5-229, 6-335, 7-426, 8-444, 9-476, 10-477.
Bowling: Sandeep Sharma 21-6-60-0, Siddharth Kaul 31-4-119-3, Amitoze Singh 4-0-20-0, Harbhajan Singh 37-6-102-2, Sarabjit Ladda 41-9-109-3, Bipul Sharma 11-4-12-1, Taruwar Kohli 10-0-30-1.
Punjab 1st innings:
Jiwanjot Singh not out 11
R Inder Singh not out 30.
Total: 41 for no loss.
Bowling: J Unadkat 6-3-7-0, S Trivedi 4-3-4-0, D Jadeja 5-1-29- 0, K Makvana 2-1-1-0