Saxena, Menaria hit half centuries; Rajasthan reach 274 for 5

Jaipur: Opener Vineet Saxena and Ashok Menaria hit contrasting half centuries as Rajasthan reached 274 for five against Hyderabad on the opening day of their Group `A` Ranji Trophy match here on Saturday.

Sent in to bat after Hyderabad won the toss, Rajasthan openers Saxena (84) and Sourabh Chouhan (24) first negotiated the early morning dew and then put on 42 runs for the first wicket before the latter was caught by Akshath Reddy off Ashish Reddy in the 20th over.

Robin Bist, who returned to the side after recovering from an injury, was run out by Sundeep Rajan for 26 as the hosts went for lunch at 119 for two with Saxena and Menaria on 33 and six respectively.

After the lunch break, Hyderabad bowlers were taken to task by Menaria as the southpaw pull, drive and cut his way to a fine half-century laced with 10 fours.

Menaria (63) was trapped in front of the stumps by Amol Shinde but not before he had hit 10 fours in his 90-ball knock. Both Menaria and Saxena added 105 runs for the third wicket partnership.

A little later, Saxena fell to Shinde missing out on a well-deserved century by just 16 runs. He struck 13 fours in his 209-ball stay at the crease.

Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (42) then joined hands with Rashmi Ranjan Parida and shared a 50-plus stand for the fifth wicket to take Rajasthan past 250-run mark.

The left-hander, however, could consider himself unlucky as he lost his wicket on the last ball of the day to medium pacer Praneet Arjun. Kanitkar found the fence five times and faced 85 balls.

For Hyderabad, Shinde picked up two for 77 while Arjun and Reddy chipped in one wicket each.


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