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Saurashtra trail Mumbai by 390 runs

January 06, 2009 18:46 IST

Mumbai appeared to be on course to their 38th Ranji Trophy title as Saurashtra failed to live up to their promise of making a match of their rivals and were trailing by 390 runs in their first innings on the third and penultimate day of their semi-final match in Chennai on Tuesday.

Saurashtra were 247 for five wickets off 88 overs in reply to Mumbai's mammoth total of 637 for six declared. 

Saurashtra batsmen, facing a real test after making the last four stage for the second time in a row, miserably faltered against an attack comprising pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar, besides spinner Ramesh Powar. 

Zaheer claimed a couple of wickets conceding 40 runs while Agarkar, Dhaval Kulkarni and Powar took a wicket each. 

At close, Jaydev Shah (45) and Kamlesh Makwana (0) were at the crease.

With Mumbai declaring their innings at their overnight score, Saurashtra openers Chirag Pathak (30) and Bhushan Chauhan (14) started off on an aggressive note. 

But their counterattack was short-lived against Zaheer, who bowled at full pace to remove Pathak while the Saurashtra batsman tried to hook a bouncer and landed his shot to the safe hands of Kulkarni at deep square leg.

Veteran Agarkar, who bowled well throughout the day, was looking to be getting the dividend any time.

Chauhan was tricked as an incoming delivery clipped the bails. He made 14 and Saurashtra were reduced 52 for two.

Cheteshwar Pajara (39) was looking to revive their innings with the subdued Shitanshu Kotak. They were coasting towards setting up a solid partnership but Pujara paid the price for his being in two minds to Powar.

Pujara tried for a late cut off a bouncing ball but caressed the ball to slip for a straight forward catch to  Wasim Jaffer. He had put on 71 runs for the third wicket with Kotak. 

Ravindra Jadeja (10), the top performer for Saurashtra with bat and ball this season, also did not stay longer and edged a Zaheer delivery to wicket keeper Vinayak Samant. 

Kotak, who played a responsible innings seemed to be taking the match to safety, perhaps wanting to remain at the crease in helping his team stay put for the whole day on Wednesday to take first innings lead or making his team to an unfinished first innings, which would mean that the quotient rule to apply to decide the winner from an unfinished (first innings) match.

Though being beaten by both Zaheer and Agarkar, Kotak and captain Shah stayed put at the crease and were also kept the scoreboard ticking. But Kotak finally fell a prey to Kulkarni, shuffling across to a short of a length delivery and giving a simple catch to Rohit Sharma at leg gully.

He top scored for Saurashtra with 89 from 211 balls with 11 fours.

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