Mumbai: Cheteshwar Pujara ploughed a lonely furrow and made a fighting 86, but Rest of India (ROI) floundered against Gujarat's bowling attack and were pushed against the ropes by the newly-crowned Ranji Trophy champions in the Irani Cup match on Saturday.
At stumps on day two of the five-day match, ROI were struggling at 206 for 9 wickets, chasing Gujarat's first innings total of 358, with captain Pujara's 221-minute effort being the cornerstone of his team's innings.
The batsmen at the crease at stumps were number ten and eleven, Pankaj Singh (7) and Mohammed Siraj (8) and Gujarat were well-poised to take a handy first innings lead on the morrow at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
Pujara, who came in to bat after the early fall of opener Abhinav Mukund for 8 off the last ball of the ninth over bowled by Chintan Gaja, kept the innings together while the other batsmen fell around him.
The Saurashtra batsman was seventh dismissed after hitting nine fours in 156 balls, caught behind top-edging a short ball from Ishwar Chaudhary.
Three wickets fell at the same score of 191 — with Kuldeep Singh and Shahbaz Nadeem being the others to be dismissed before and after Pujara as Gujarat slumped from 166 for three to 192 for 9 in 16 overs, and lost their last four wickets for the addition of one run in a sensational collapse.
The only other batsman to impress for the ROI apart from Pujara was Mumbai opener Akhil Herwadkar, who made 48 with one six and seven fours in 124 minutes before he got caught in the leg trap placed by left arm spinner Hardik Patel, who grabbed 3 for 73.
The early strikes were by Gaja, who accounted for the wickets of Mukund (8), Chennai Test triple centurion Karun Nair (28) in the beginning before adding the scalp of Siddharth Kaul towards the end to finish the day with fine figures of 3 for 46.
Mohit Thadani bowled a fine third spell of 7-3-12-2 in which he sent back Manoj Tiwary and Wridhiman Saha cheaply in the space of 12 balls and ended the day with 2 for 48.
In the morning, Gujarat added 58 runs to their overnight 300 for 8 in 75 minutes batting before their first innings came to an end.
Overnight unbeaten batsman Chirag Gandhi added 33 runs before being dismissed for 169 by Kaul, who took a return catch off the batsman he had stayed at the wicket for eight minutes under five hours.
Kaul finished with 5 for 86 while Pankaj Singh got 4 for 104.
Brief scores: Gujarat 358 all out (M Juneja 47, C Gandhi 169; Pankaj Singh 4 for 104, S Kaul 5 for 86) v Rest of India 206 for 9 (A Herwadkar 48, C Pujara 86, Pankaj Singh not out 7, Mohd Siraj not out 8; C Gaja 3 for 46, Hardik Patel 3 for 73).
Updated Date: Jan 21, 2017 22:37:08 IST