Ranji Trophy: Rajasthan in driver`s seat against Orissa

Jaipur: A superb unbeaten ton by Robin Bisht (127) and some fine bowling by Sumit Mathur (3/8) and Pankaj Singh (2/24) helped defending champion Rajasthan take driver`s seat against Orissa in their Ranji trophy Elite Group A match at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Thursday.

At close on the second day, Orissa were tottering at 76 for six in reply to Rajasthan first innings total of 423.

GB Podder (18) and DR Behra (7) were at the crease when bails were taken off for the day. The visitors still trail by 347 runs with four wickets in hand.

Resuming at 209-3, Rajasthan posted a mammoth 423 largely due to a superb effort by Bisht, who held the innings together and remained unbeaten on 127 made off 236 balls studded with 16 boundaries.

The Garhwali lad showed tremendous application to surge to his fourth ton of the season and also become the highest run-getter so far taking his tally to 829.

"My job is to score runs and it is up to the selectors to decide that whether I am ready for the big scene," said the modest lad who has played most of cricket in Delhi and then from Rajasthan.

Puneet Yadav (63) played a perfect foil to Bisht and their 124-run partnership for the fifth wicket helped the hosts to reach 423 as the tail fell cheaply while trying to get some quick runs.

For Orissa, B Mohantey (4/104) was the most successful bowler, while Samantray and Mangraj grabbed two wickets each.

The visitors were left to play out the remaining 23 overs of the day but inept batting and some good bowling by the host bowlers saw them loose six wickets for 76 runs. Pankaj was the one who initiated the slide by striking twice in the fifth over by removing P Patel (11) and S Biswal (0) with his 3rd and 6th ball of the over.

Sumit Mathur who was brought in for Rituraj Singh inflicted telling blows by picking up three for eight in his five overs.

A little before the close of the days play, Aniket Chaudhary too came into act getting rid of SD Sahoo (21) to send the visitors tottering at 76 for 6 when the bails were taken off.

Robin`s heroics and some good bowling have helped Rajasthan to eye an outright win and also keep their hopes alive for a knockout berth.

"I feel the run quotient and other rules might come into play as we believe Saurasthra are also on course of an outright victory over Railways," said Bisht.

"There is no devil in the pitch here and the batsmen have to apply but still we are in a good position to eye an outright victory," he added.


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