Podder, Natraj propel Orissa to 182/3, lead Baroda by 34 runs

Cuttack: Govind Pooder made an unbeaten 70 while Natraj Behera scored 55 as Orissa were comfortably placed at 182 for three in reply to Baroda’s first innings total of 148 at the end of second day’s play in the Ranji Trophy Super League Group B match here on Tuesday.

Natraj and Pooder shared a 104-run stand for the third wicket to steady Orissa ship after they lost captain Shiv Sunder Das (1) and Niranjan Behera (13) early.

Nataraj hit eight boundaries during his 125-ball stay at the crease before he was caught behind by Baroda skipper Pinal Shah off Ajitesh Argal.

From there on, Pooder took the onus on him to guide the Orissa innings and together with Rakesh Mohanty (30 not out) added unbeaten 55 runs to end the day with a crucial 34-run first innings lead over Baroda.

For Baroda, Argal scalped two victims for 56 runs while Murtuza Vahora took the other wicket.

Earlier in the day, Rakesh Solanki (87 not out) started from where he left in the rain-marred opening day and added vital 43 runs to his overnight score of 44 to take Baroda close to the 150-mark.

Solanki and last man Bhargav Bhatt (6) added crucial 49 runs to their overnight score of 99 to take Baroda to 148.

Solanki innings was picture of concentration as even though batting with the last man he did not panic and waited for opportunities to score runs.

He also showed great faith in his tailender colleague as Bhatt faced 55 balls during his six-run innings before finally perishing in the 58th over to Biplab Samantray.

Solanki and Bhatt somewhat saved Baroda from a bigger humiliation, adding valuable 52 runs for the last wicket.

Brief score:

Baroda: 1st innings: 148 all out (Rakesh Solanki 87, Basanth Mohanty 5/31)

Orissa: 1st innings: 183 for 3 (Govind Pooder 70, Natraj Behera 55, Ajitesh Argal 2/56).

PTI

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