Kotak, Pujara propel Saurashtra to 202/2

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Mumbai: Contrasting unbeaten half centuries by Sitanshu Kotak and Cheteshwar Pujara, and their unbroken 110-run third wicket partnership, saw Saurashtra take the first day's honours in their Ranji Trophy Super League Group-A tie against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.

At close of the first day's play in this four-day last league match, Saurashtra were 202 for two with Sitanshu Kotak on 73 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 62 at the crease.

In the morning, Mumbai, who need to win this match to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, won the toss and asked the visitors to take first strike on a seamer-friendly conditions.

Murtuza Hussain struck in his second over when he had opener Sagar Jogyani's off-stump uprooted after the batsman had made 5 runs with the scoreboard reading 11 for one.

After that, however, Amol Muzumdar was left to rue his decision to put Saurashtra in to bat first as Kannayya Vagehla and Sitanshu Kotak dug in to deny Mumbai success.

The duo were helped a lot by the Mumbai pacers, who wasted new ball with wayward line and length. To compound matters, Mundeep Mangela playing his first match of the season was given two warnings in the sixth and 25th over of the innings for running on the wickets, which reduced his effectiveness as the fear of getting a third warning, which would have meant he would not have been able to bowl again in the innings, saw him go wide of the crease and thus reduce his effectiveness to a great extent.

Kotak and Vaghela put on 81 runs in 44.2 overs before Hussain got rid of Vaghela for 35 when the batsman edged an away going delivery into the hands of the keeper Vinayak Samant with Saurashtra on 92 for two.

Vaghela made a turtle-esque 35 in 141 balls and his innings was inclusive of three boundaries.

The in-form Cheteshwar Pujara then joined Kotak and immediately showed why he has been rated so highly as he stepped up the scoring rate with some pleasing cover drives. In the meanwhile, Kotak reached his 50, which came in a marathon stay of 262 minutes and having faced 188 balls, he hit five boundaries.

At the other end, Pujara went on to attack the Mumbai seamers and spinners and raced to his fifty, his second of the season, having already scored three hundreds this season. Pujara's half century came in 90 balls and was studded with 10 boundaries.

Mumbai took the new ball after 82 overs and managed to trouble the batsmen a bit, but both Kotak and Pujara withstood the second new ball to remain unbeaten at close.

Brief Scores (D-1):

Saurashtra Ist innings 202/2 (Kotak 73 n o, Pujara 61 n o; Murtuza Hussain 2 for 32) Vs Mumbai.

Other Super League Group-A ties:

At M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai: TN Ist innings 250/9 (M Vijay 77, Abhinav Mukund 51, Ramkumar 32; Rajat Bhatia 3 for 16, C Nanda 3 for 65) Vs Delhi.


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