Rajasthan in driver’s seat in Ranji Trophy final

January 22nd, 2012 - 3:06 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 21 (IANS) Holders Rajasthan took three quick wickets to exert control over the Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu, who were struggling at 66 for three at stumps on day three after Vineet Saxena’s 257 helped the visitors pile up 621 in their first innings.

In sharp contrast to the opening two days when Rajasthan lost just two wickets, the proceedings wore a different look as 11 wickets fell by close of play on the third day.

Rajasthan continue to be in a position of strength and barring any dramatic twists, they are poised to retain the trophy with just two days’ play remaining.

Rajasthan, resuming on 404 for two, continued to bat cautiously. Saxena and young Robin Bist (57) added 123 runs for the third wicket.

Bist, Rajasthan’s most consistent scorer, was caught at square-leg to present off-spinner Sunny Gupta the second of his three wickets. Soon after, Saxena’s marathon innings ended as he played all over a drive off left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas, who eventually ended up with a four-wicket haul from 85 overs.

Thereafter, Rajasthan lost wickets at regular intervals while Rashmi Parida (40) and Rituraj Singh (45) chipped in with useful scores to boost the team’s total to 621 in 245 overs.

Gupta came away with three wickets as also seamer Jagannathan Kaushik, but overall, the Tamil Nadu bowlers toiled on a pitch that lacked pace and bounce.

In reply, Tamil Nadu, having to bat out the day’s final session, were off to a disastrous start, losing their top three batsmen - Abhinav Mukund (0) and Murali Vijay (15), centurion in the previous game, and the dependable Subramaniam Badrinath (6) for just 24 runs.

Bulk of the damage was done by seamer Rituraj Singh (2/27), who has been having a good season, as he dismissed Mukund, who was caught plumb in front, and Vijay while Badrinath was ruled leg-before to the other new ball bowler Pankaj Singh (1/16).

Brief scores: Rajasthan 621 in 245 overs (Vineet Saxena 257, Aakash Chopra 94; Aushik Srinivas 4/192) vs Tamil Nadu 66/3 in 25 overs.

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