Irani Trophy to move out of Rajasthan

Rajasthan reached 268 against Suarashtra thanks to a fighting century from Ashok Maneria © AFP

Jaipur: Dec 22, 2012

A brilliant ton by former India Under-19 captain Ashok Menaria and a fighting half-century by opener Vineet Saxena saved Rajasthan the blushes as the hosts reached 268 for nine on the opening day of their Group A Ranji Trophy tie against Saurashtra at Jaipur on Saturday.

Saurashtra won the toss and elected to field on a lively wicket at the K L Saini stadium in Mansarovar.

Medium pacers Jaidev Unadkat (Three for 54) and Sidhartha Trivedi (Three for 51) struck regularly but a fine 165-ball 103 by southpaw Menaria and an equally impressive 71 by Saxena provided some respectability to Rajasthan’s first innings total at stumps.

Wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik (24) was at the crease when stumps were drawn for the day after the fall of Aniket Choudhury (0) on the second ball of the 87th over.

Pacer Sandip Maniar gave the first breakthrough to the visitors by castling Sourabh Chouhan (2) in the fourth over.

Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (22) resisted for a while but was caught by rival skipper Sagar Jogiyani off Trivedi.

It was then left to Menaria and Saxena to revive the team’s sagging fortunes who put up a brave fight with their century-plus stand.

Both added 102 runs for the third-wicket partnership before Saxena was trapped in front of the stumps by Unadkat.

The right-handed batsman struck nine fours and a six in his 149-ball stay at the crease.

Next man-in, Rashmi Ranjan Parida (0) departed without troubling the scorers as he became Trivedi’s second victim.

Menaria then combined well with Puneet Yadav (22) and took the team’s total past 200-run mark.

Yadav was caught by Jogiyani off Chirag Mani as Rajasthan slumped to 211 for five.

Menaria completed his first century of the season at the team score of 234 for five but soon fell to Unadkat caught by Shitanshu Kotak. He struck 17 fours.

After the fall of Menaria, Rajasthan lost Rituraj Singh (9), Pankaj Singh (1) and Aniket Choudhary (0) cheaply.