Irani Cup: Middle and lower-order give Saurashtra glimmer of hope

However, Jackson and Vasavada, who have bailed Saurashtra out many a time, added 117 runs for the sixth wicket to steady the ship. But, it was the 144-run eighth-wicket stand between Unadkat and Mankad that raised visions – however improbable it may look at the moment – of pulling off a heist.
Representative image
Representative image

RAJKOT: Saurashtra’s middle and lower-order showed a lot of stomach for fight, with its No.6 to 9 adding 276 runs on Monday, but Rest of India remained firm favourite to win the Irani Cup here.

At stumps on the third day, Saurashtra reached 368 for eight, riding on half-centuries from the quartet comprising Sheldon Jackson (71 off 117 balls, 8 fours, 3 sixes), Arpit Vasavada (55 off 127 balls, 7 fours, 1 six), Prerak Mankad (72 off 83 balls, 9 fours) and skipper Jaydev Unadkat (78 batting off 116 balls, 8 fours, 2 sixes).

The overall lead is 92 runs now and Saurashtra would like to stretch it to at least 175 in order to set the cat among the pigeons. With 276 runs in arrears, Saurashtra was staring at a humiliating innings defeat after being reduced to 87 for five before lunch.

However, Jackson and Vasavada, who have bailed Saurashtra out many a time, added 117 runs for the sixth wicket to steady the ship. But, it was the 144-run eighth-wicket stand between Unadkat and Mankad that raised visions – however improbable it may look at the moment – of pulling off a heist.

The duo not only combined for a century partnership but also scored the runs at a quick clip – in only 29.3 overs – to keep the contest alive.

While Jackson took the attack back to the opposition by repeatedly stepping out to leftarm spinner Saurabh Kumar (3/80 in 25 overs), Unadkat and Mankad used the extra pace of Kuldeep Sen (3/85 in 16 overs) and Umran Malik (0/59) to their advantage.

Pujara fails again

Cheteshwar Pujara (1) would like to forget the Irani Cup match as rookie pacer Kuldeep made life difficult for him with extra pace and bounce. Kuldeep got one to rear up from length on the off-stump and Pujara just dangled his bat with KS Bharat taking an easy catch.

BRIEF SCORES: Saurashtra 98 and 368/8 in 98 overs (J Unadkat 78*, P Mankad 72, S Jackson 71, A Vasavada 55, S Kumar 3/80, Kuldeep 3/85) vs Rest of India 374

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