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Our 187 is like 300 on this pitch: Pujara

The No.3 batsman reckoned it is going to get difficult to bat going forward in this Test match with overcast conditions and widened cracks expected to play a huge role in the game

The grind was for real and so was the patience. Though Cheteshwar Pujara received a huge applause after scoring his first run off 54 balls, the wry smile on his face was an indication of how tough the pitch was, how testing the conditions were and how much it took out of him to get off the mark. For Pujara, that morning session was a test of his patience and was one of the toughest pitches he had played on.

“After a point I wanted to get off the mark. But as you saw, it was a bit difficult to rotate the strike,” Pujara said. “This is one of the toughest pitches I have played on, so you need to take your time and you need to get used to the bounce and lateral movement. It was difficult for me early on but as I batted more it became easier for me.”

Pujara did see the lighter scheme of things when he was asked about the cheer he received after scoring his first run off the bat. “There was a lot of noise from the crowd and I did notice it,” he smiled.“I wasn’t seeing the number of balls I was facing, but yes, sometimes when there is lot of noise you do notice it. Even if you are concentrating, sometimes you do hear a voice from the crowd.”

Post that run, Pujara looked like Pujara. Rocking on the backfoot, punching a few boundaries, driving a few, running hard, leaving and ducking and applying himself to the best of his abilities. There were a lot of ocassions when he got beaten, but that was just an indication of how the South Africa pacers were bowling at the right line and length consistently. Pujara reckoned, things will only get tougher going forward in this Test match and South Africa could well be on the backfoot come Day 2.

“I never felt that I was in on this wicket. There was a lot of deviation. When you bat for a bit, things do get easier, but I don’t think you can be ‘in’ on this wicket. If someone scores a hundred, it will be a very brilliant knock. The pitch has a lot of bounce, it has seam movement and there is enough pace now. We had to work hard to score runs, but the total we have (187) is as good as scoring 300 on any wicket. As we saw, we got a wicket, and if we bowl well, I think we’ll get them out. I would say it was a good day for us.”

When the visitors were playing five bowlers, conditions suiting to them and had already won the toss, why the decision to bat first, most wondered? “As the game progresses, we are very sure that this pitch will be difficult to bat on,” Pujara answered. “As we saw even in the later stages of today, the cracks are opening up and a couple of balls deviated a lot. I haven’t seen deviation like that before. As the game progresses I think this pitch will have variable bounce and cracks will open up and it will be difficult to bat on. According to the weather forecast, it will be overcast and there will be more help for the fast bowlers. The first session will be very crucial for us and we will be looking to get them out before 150.”

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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Karun Nair’s century fires Karnataka to a big win

Team Rajasthan win third consecutive game, UP climb to top position in Group B

Karun Nair slammed a swashbuckling century while the Karnataka pace attack ran through the Jharkhand line-up to claim a resounding win in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20, Super League. Team Rajasthan continued their winnings streak with a win over Mumbai. While Bengal defeated Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh beat Baroda.
Group A

Mumbai vs Team Rajasthan – After beating Jharkhand and Karnataka, Team Rajasthan defeated Mumbai by 17 runs in the Super League.

Although they got off to a poor start after electing to bat, Team Rajasthan posted a respectable 175 for six on the board. While Dhawal Kulkarni claimed Ankit Lamba, Roystan Dias accounted for SF Khan and Aditya Garhwal was run out leaving the side on 12 for three.

M Lomror (74 off 55) and CD Bist (41 off 35) then revived the innings with an 86-run stand. After Shivam Dube accounted for Bist to end the flourishing partnership, TN Dhillon joined Lomror in maintaining the momentum. The pair had taken Rajasthan to 173 until Dhillon was sent back by Kulkarni with three balls still left in the innings. With Deepak Chahar, the middle-order bat helped his team to 175 before being castled by Kulkarni off the last delivery of the innings.

Akhil Herwadkar (68 off 51) then dropped anchor to shape Mumbai’s chase. With opening partner Jay Bista, he had taken Mumbai to 54 until R Chahar struck to end the stand. 35 runs later, Siddhesh Lad was trapped lbw by Dhillon, who also claimed Aditya Tare later in the over to leave Mumbai on 94 for three at the end of 12 overs.

With Surya Kumar Yadav, Herwadkar stitched a partnership to take the team to 121 until he was sent back by Deepak Chahar. The bowler also accounted for Shivam Dube later in the over to leave Mumbai on 123 for five. Couple of overs later, Akash Parker was the bowler’s next victim leaving Mumbai on 140 for six. 

With 36 runs required off 15 balls, Parikshit Valsangkar joined Yadav in the middle. 16 runs later, Yadav and Valsangkar were both sent back SKK Ahmed off consecutive deliveries in the last over leaving Mumbai 156 for eight with two balls left. Team Rajasthan cantered to a comprehensive win having held Mumbai to 158 for eight.

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Karnataka vs Jharkhand – While Karun Nair’s century propelled Karnataka to a solid 201 for four, the Karnataka attack bundled Jharkhand out for 78 to claim a thumping 123-run win.

Asked to bat, Karnataka lost Mayank Agarwal without a run on the board. While Nair milked the bowlers from one end, BR Sharath was sent back by Vikash 38 runs later. Pavan Deshpande then joined the opener in building a partnership for a formidable total. The duo had added 130 runs for the third wicket until Nair was sent back by Vikash after bringing up his century. In the next over Deshpande was removed by Varun Aaron for 56 leaving Karnataka on 177 for four.

Aniruddha and Stuart Binny then took Karnataka to 201 for four.

Chasing the mammoth ask, the Jharkhand line-up caved in to the Karnataka attack in 14.2 overs. M Prasidh set the tone by castling Kumar Deobrat for zero leaving the side on 4/1. In his next the pacer sent back Virat Singh while Arvind Sreenath accounted for Ishan Kishan to leave Jharkhand on 34 for three. Ten runs later, Saurabh Tiwary was bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun while A Sreenath followed up with the wicket of Kaushal Singh in the next. Md Nazim Siddique was run out later in the over leaving Jharkhand reeling on 45 for six. Shahbaz Nadeem was the next to walk back to the dug-out; bowled by Suchith J. Five runs later, Shreyas Gopal claimed Sunny Gupta to leave the side on 52 for eight. A bit later, Varun Aaron too was sent back by Suchith and A Mithun the wrapped up the game with the wicket of Vikash (25 off 16).

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Group B

Baroda vs Uttar Pradesh – A 160-run partnership between Umang Sharma (95 off 47) and Suresh Raina (56 off 47) helped UP chase down the 193-run target with ease. The Raina-led team cantered to a seven-wicket win against Baroda with eight balls to spare.

Chasing the competitive total, UP opener Shivam Chaudhary was castled by Krunal Pandya off the first ball of the innings. Raina then joined Umang in shaping the chase. The pair gleaned runs off the Baroda attack in an effort to overhaul the target. The opener slammed ten boundaries and five sixes as he en route, until Atit Sheth ended his blitzkrieg five runs short of a century. In the next over R Arothe got the better of the UP captain to leave the team on 162 for three in the 17th over. Akshdeep Nath and Rinku Singh then continued to milk the Baroda attack to take their side to a convincing win.

Earlier, put in to bat, Kedar Devdhar and Urvil Patel took Baroda to 74 until the former was sent back by Mohsin Multan Khan in the tenth over. Patel was then involved in a 92-run partnership with Deepak Hooda before being sent back by Ankit Rajpoot for 96 (off 54 balls). A bit later with five balls left in the innings the Baroda captain was bowled by MM Khan for 45 leaving the team on 183 for three. Pandya and Swapnil Singh then took the team to 192 for three.

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Tamil Nadu vs Bengal – After Bengal restricted TN to 129 for nine, Sudip Chatterjee (51*) helped the team sail to the target and register a seven-wicket win.

After Vijay Shankar opted to bat, Kanishk Seth set the ball rolling with the wicket of K Bharath Shankar in the second over leaving TN on seven for one. In his next, he accounted for Baba Aparajith and 21 runs later removed MS Washington Sundar leaving the side on 44 for three. TN continued to lose wicket as the Bengal bowlers stepped up the pressure. Aamir Gani bowled N Jagadeesan ten runs later while Sanjay Yadav was dismissed by Manoj Tiwary in the next leaving the side wobbling on 58 for five in the ninth over.
Couple of overs later, Gani rattled Vijay Shankar’s stumps. M Ashwin then joined Aniruda in the middle and the pair stitched a 48-run partnership until Sayan Gosh ended the stand. The bowler claimed Ashwin and Aniruda off successive balls to leave the side on 123 for eight at the end of the penultimate over. Ashoke Dinda followed up with the wicket of Vignesh K in the last over. Rahil Shah and A Davidson then added four runs off the last three balls.

While Sundar claimed Shreevats Goswami off the first ball of the innings, 32 runs later Virat Singh was bowled by Davidson leaving the team on 32 for two.

Writtick Chatterjee then joined Sudip and the duo added 95 runs for the second wicket. The flourishing partnership was ended by Vignesh K, who claimed Writtick to leave Bengal on 127 for three. With the skipper, the top-order batsman then saw the team through to the finish lineCl.

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BCCI Staff

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