Arpit Vasavada’s ton put Saurashtra firmly in control of the Ranji Trophy final as the hosts progressed to 339 for 5 by Tea on the second day against Bengal. Pujara too proceeded to scrape it out, battling throat infection and fever, progressing to 51 off 193 deliveries, and in the process helping the sixth-wicket partnership swell to 148.
After working out a wicket-less opening session, where the hosts added 72 runs, they proceeded to tire the Bengal bowlers as the second session produced 61 from 24 overs. It was another quiet session with not much support from the pitch for the pacers. Shahbaz Ahmed did trouble the batsmen but with the slow nature of the track, he wasn’t able to create enough to earn a wicket.
The moment of the day came in the 134th over as Vasavada got to his century off 255 balls. Just like he had rescued the side in the semifinal against Gujarat, the hosts once again needed him to step up with the side struggling at 206 for 5. However, it was Pujara’s support effort that helped the side maintain solidity. The India Test No. 3 played out 193 balls and got his half-century in the 138th over to ensure the hosts took another session.
There was another rejig in the on-field match officials. After C Shamshuddin failed to take the field in the morning session, local umpire Piyush Kakka did the square-leg umpiring duties while K Anantha Padmanabhan officiated from both ends. In the second session though, Shamshuddin took up the third umpire responsibilities while S Ravi took the field. Shamshuddin will fly out after suffering an injury to his abdomen while the BCCI has already summoned Yashwant Barde as a replacement.
In the opening session, both Vasavada and Pujara ensured there weren’t too many opportunities for the visitors. Shahbaz Ahmed, as he did on an opening day, had the batsmen fending but without much luck. He was a tad unlucky when the lbw decision review against Pujara in the 98th over was shot down. Pujara had come down the track and was hit in front but was adjudged not out. The review was taken but the impact was more than three meters and hence the on-field decision stayed.
Brief scores: Saurashtra 339/5 (Arpit Vasavada 106*, Avi Barot 54, Vishvaraj Jadeja 54; Akash Deep 3-62) vs Bengal.