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Ranji Trophy: Pujara Racks Up Double Ton Extending Saurashtra's Dominance

2024-01-07 18:18:58

Cheteshwar Pujara showed his insatiable hunger for runs with his 17th double hundred in first-class cricket before Prerak Mankad’s all-round show put Saurashtra in command of their Ranji Trophy opener against Jharkhand on day three in Rajkot on Sunday. Pujrara, unbeaten on 157 overnight, ended with 243 not out off 356 balls as Saurashtra declared their first innings at 578 for four in response to Jharkhand’s 142 all in the first innings, gaining a massive lead of 436 runs. The declaration came after Mankad (104 not out off 176) completed his second first-class hundred.

Jharkhand openers Kumar Deobrat (74 not out off 130) and Nazim Siddique (45 off 51) batted with a lot more purpose in the second innings but twin strikes from medium pacer Mankad left them at 140 for two at stumps on day three.

Jharkhand still trail Saurashtra by 296 runs.

Pujara, the 103-Test veteran who was dropped from the Indian team following the WTC final in June last year, hardly put a foot wrong in his marathon effort comprising 30 fours. His nimble foot work against the spinners stood out.

It was Pujara’s eighth double hundred in Ranji Trophy and 17th first-class double ton. It ties him up with Herbert Sutcliffe and Mark Ramprakash. He is now behind only the great Don Bradman (37), Wally Haymond (36) and Patsy Hendren (22). The 35-year-old also has three triple hundreds in first-class cricket.

India’s reliable number three for more than a decade will be eager to make most of his outings in Ranji Trophy before the squad is announced for the home Test series against England, starting January 25.

His unconquered 256-run stand with Mankad has put his team in a domination position.

After making an impact, Mankad got rid of Jharkhand opener Siddique and number three Aditya Chandresh Singh (0). On a flat deck, Mankad consistently bowled in the off-stump channel and was rewarded with two wickets.

Deobrat however frustrated the Saurashtra bowlers with a solid effort including nine fours. Brief scores: At Rajkot: Jharkhand 142 in 49 overs and 140/2 in 45 overs (Kumar Deobrat 74 batting; Prerak Mankad 2/12) vs Saurashtra 578/4 decl in 156 overs (Harvik Desai 85, Sheldon Jackson 54, Cheteshwar Pujara 243 not out, Prerak Mankad 104 not out).

At Solapur: Manipur 137 in 54.1 overs & 114 all out in 55.2 overs (Hitesh Walunj 3/11, Siddhesh Veer 4/10) vs Maharashtra 320 in 81.2 overs. Maharashtra won by innings and 69 runs.

At Nagpur: Services 241 and 155 all out vs Vidarbha 219 and 45/0 in 14 overs (Faiz Fazal batting 20, Sanjay Raghunath batting 25).

At Rohtak: Haryana 100/6 in 52 overs (Rohit Pramod Sharma batting 38; Aniket Choudhary 2/15, Manav Suthar 2/23). Rajasthan (bad light impacted play again).

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