Pankaj Singh and Akash Chopra put Rajasthan in command

Jaipur: A five-wicket haul by medium pacer Pankaj Singh (5 for 64) and a brisk unbeaten half-century by Akash Chopra (87) took Rajasthan to a commanding position against Saurashtra in their Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match at the Sawai Man Singh stadium on Thursday.

Resuming at 215/7, Saurashtra folded for 265 as the hosts took a first Innings lead of 131 and then raced to 169 for one in their second essay to take an overall lead of 300 runs at stumps on the third day here.

Akash Chopra (87) and Hrishikesh Kanitkar (38) were at crease at the draw of stumps after opener Vineet Saxena (35) fell to Unadkat.

The former India opener Akash hit 19 fours and one six in his 188-ball innings, while skipper Kanitkar cracked six boundaries in his 62-ball innings so far.

Earlier in the day, J Odedra (17) and J Unadkat (18 not out) helped Saurashtra avoid the follow on even though they were all out for 265 just before lunch to concede a 131-run first innings lead to Rajasthan.

Pankaj, who had not been impressive so far this season, picked up five for 64, while Rituraj Singh (2/80), Sumit Mathur (2/51) and left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh (1/56) also contributed to their team cause.

In their second essay, Akash and Vineet added 93 runs for the opening wicket in 34.4 over to set the tone for Rajasthan.

After Vineet fell to Unadkat, Akash and Kanitkar added quick runs to put them on the driver`s seat and conjure up hopes of an outright win with one more day to go in the match.

Rajasthan who had accumulated 5 points from five matches has already assured three points by taking first innings lead.

Brief score:

Rajasthan first innings: 396

Saurashtra 265 all out in 104.4 overs (C Pujara 78, B Chauhan 71; P Singh 5/64).

Rajasthan second innings: 169 for one in 57 overs (A Chopra 87; J Unadkat 1/22).


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