Ranji Trophy semi-final: Cheteshwar Pujara ton puts Saurashtra in sight of win; fans call batsman 'cheater'

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First Published 27, Jan 2019, 6:00 PM IST
Ranji Trophy semi-final: Cheteshwar Pujara ton puts Saurashtra on verge of victory
Highlights

It was yet another absorbing day's play in the five-day contest. Day 4 belonged to Pujara and his batting partner Sheldon Jackson.

Bengaluru: Cheteshwar Pujara walked in when Saurashtra were 3/2 and Karnataka pacemen were on fire. By the time he left the ground undefeated, he had not only made a back-to-the-wall hundred but also put his team on the brink of victory in the Ranji Trophy semi-final here on Sunday (January 27).

It was yet another absorbing day's play in the five-day contest. Day 4 belonged to Pujara and his batting partner Sheldon Jackson.
 
Set a tough target of 279, Saurashtra were reeling at 23/3 in 5.5 overs. At this stage, Pujara (108 not out) and Jackson (90 not out) came together to bail their team out and headed back to the pavilion unseparated with Saurashtra 224/3 in 74 overs, further needing 55 to win on the fifth and final day.

Pujara-Jackson duo put on 201 runs for the third wicket in 68.1 overs in 333 minutes.

It is a known fact that Pujara loves batting. The same was witnessed at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. He batted for 358 minutes, facing 216 balls. He hit 14 boundaries.

Pujara, who was India's hero of the historic Test series triumph in Australia recently, had luck on his side, just as he did in the first innings.

In the first innings, umpire Saiyed Khalid had given him not out on 11 when he the ball had brushed his thumb on way to the wicketkeeper. It was a 'gift' on Pujara's 31st birthday on Friday. He made 45.

The same umpire again denied Karnataka when Pujara was on 34 in the post-lunch session. He had nicked a R Vinay Kumar delivery to wicketkeeper Sharath Srinivas but Khalid said not out. Just like the first innings, Karnataka players kept appealing and they were left disappointed again.

The hosts broadcaster Star Sports commentators too said it was out. One of them said, "I heard a sound there".

Karnataka fans, who were watching the match at the stadium, booed Pujara and also called him 'cheater' for not walking.

 

Khalid's partner Ulhas Gandhe too was guilty as he reprieved Jackson on three off Ronit More. The batsman should have been adjudged LBW but Gandhe thought otherwise.

The 32-year-old Jackson was an able ally to Pujara. The right-hander hit 13 boundaries in his 205-ball, 333-minute stay.

Riding on these two lucky breaks, Pujara and Jackson punished Karnataka bowlers. The hosts were also hampered by an injury to leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who was hurt while fielding. He bowled only six overs without success.

At the start of Saurashtra's chase, it was Vinay who scalped two batsmen in successive overs. First, he dismissed opener Snell Patel for a two-ball duck and added Vishvaraj Jadeja's (0) wicket.

Abhimanyu Mithun sent back the other opener Harvik Desai (9) as KV Siddharth completed a brilliant diving catch at gully. The visitors were 23/3 in 5.5 overs.

Then, they hit the Pujara wall. The bowlers tried hard but could not dislodge Pujara and Jackson. They went wicketless for 68.1 overs.

Earlier, Karnataka lost their last two wickets for the addition of just two runs in two overs to be all out for 239, an overall lead of 278. Gopal could not add to his overnight score of 61. Mithun was out for 37, adding two from his yesterday’s score and last man More was dismissed for a three-ball duck. Left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja took both the wickets and finished with 5/78.


Brief Scores (Day 4)

Saurashtra 224/3 in 74 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 108 not out, Sheldon Jackson 90 not out, R Vinay Kumar 2/48) and 236 vs Karnataka 275 and 239 all out in 80 overs (Shreyas Gopal 61, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 5/78, Jaydev Unadkat 3/38)

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