Unadkat, Pujara boost Saurashtra in Ranji quarters

Vizianagaram, Feb 3 (IANS) Medium-pacer Jaydev Unadkat claimed a five-wicket haul before Cheteshwar Pujara produced a fine batting display as Saurashtra took the upper hand against Vidarbha on the first day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final here on Wednesday.

Unadkat had figures of 5/70 while fellow pacers Hardik Rathod (2/28), Chirag Jani (2/29) and Deepak Punia (1/20) were also among the wickets as Vidarbha were dismissed for 151 runs. The experienced Wasim Jaffer was Vidarba’s best performer with 41.

In reply, Saurashtra posted 70/1 by the end of the day’s play with Pujara leading the charge with an unbeaten 45. Saurashtra lost opener Avi Barot (5) early but Pujara and Sagar Jogiyani (19 batting) kept the innings on track.

Asked to bat first, Vidarbha were on the backfoot straightaway as Unadkat sent back opener Jitesh Sharma with the second ball of the match. Rathod then picked up two quick wickets to push home the advantage. By the time Unadkat dismissed Ravi Jangid to claim his second wicket, Vidarbha were in deep trouble at 90/5.

At the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Valsad, Syed Jamaluddin Mohammad scored a half-century lower down the order to lead an Assam fightback after pacers Siddarth Kaul and Barinder Singh Sran sliced through their batting line-up to hand Punjab the early advantage.

Kaul notched up figures of 4/81 while Sran returned 2/67. Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (1/11) and left-arm pacer Deepak Bansal (1/36) struck early blows as Assam were struggling at 115/5 at one stage. But Syed (50 not out) and Amit Verma (42) ensured Assam crossed the 200-run mark. Arup Das (0 batting) was giving Syed company at the close.

Meanwhile in Mysore, Akhil Herwadkar spearheaded a strong Mumbai batting performance with a century against surprise quarter-finalists Jharkhand. Herwadkar scored 107 before edging left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem to wicketkeeper Shiv Gautam as Mumbai posted 303/6 by the end of the opening day. Suryakumar Yadav (75) scored a half-century for Mumbai.

Jaskaran Singh (2/57) and Nadeem (2/96) were the most notable bowlers for Jharkhand.

Brief scores:

Saurashtra: 70/1 (Pujara 45 batting) trail Vidarbha 151 (Jaffer 41; Unadkat 5/70) by 81 runs

Assam: 223/8 (Syed Mohammad 50 batting, Pallav Kumar Das 46; Kaul 4/61, Sran 2/67) vs Punjab

Mumbai: 303/6 (Herwadkar 107, Surykumar 75) vs Jharkhand

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