Ranji: UP thrash Saurashtra; Pujara flops

Uttar Pradesh thrashed Saurashtra by an innings and 72 runs, even as Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara failed miserably with the bat in the second innings of the Elite Group B match of the Ranji Trophy held at Rajkot on Saturday.

Uttar Pradesh had bowled out Saurashtra for 331 in their first essay and then posted a mammoth 523 on the board, courtesy a 165 by middle-order batsman Mohammed Saif.

Thanks to Saif’s century, Uttar Pradesh managed to grab a massive 192-run first innings lead.

When play resumed on the fourth and the final day, at the SCA Stadium in Khanderi, Saurashtra needed to bat their skins out to save the game and evade defeat.

However, Uttar Pradesh skipper Saurabh Kumar spun his web around the opposition batsmen and led the side to an emphatic victory.

Kumar, a slow left-arm orthodox bowler, returned with match-winning figures of 6-55, as his team shot out Saurashtra for 120 and gained even the bonus point.

Saurashtra openers Harvik Desai (50) and Snell Patel (19) gave them a sedate start conjuring 38 runs for the first wicket before leggie Zeeshan Ansari (3-42) trapped Patel in front of the wicket.

One-down Pujara, who has on so many occasions pulled his team out of the woods, was expected to do it one more time.

However, the Test specialist lasted just 10 deliveries and was trapped in front of the wicket by Kumar for 3.

The Kumar-Ansari duo then ran through Saurashtra’s middle-order removing Samarth Vyas (0), Jay Chauhan (1) and Prerak Mankad (4) in quick succession, as the hosts slipped to 57-5.

Sheldon Jackson (11) also was unable to covert his start, as Saurashtra lost their sixth wicket for 83.

For the hosts, opener Desai was the only hope if they had to bat another two sessions, but leggie Ansari caught him on his own bowling even before lunch was called.

At lunch, Saurashtra were reeling at 98-8, as Uttar Pradesh were on cusp of a memorable win.

It was then just a matter of time, as Uttar Pradesh removed the last two batsmen D A Jadeja (13) and Jaydev Unadkat (2) to collect seven points.

The win was even more special as Uttar Pradesh defeated Saurashtra in their own backyard.

Brief scores: Saurashtra 331 and 120 (Harvik Desai 50, Snell Patel 19; Saurabh Kumar 6-55, Zeeshan Ansari 3-42) v/s Uttar Pradesh 523. UP won by an innings and 72 runs. UP 7 points, Saurashtra 0 points.