Irani Trophy, Day 2: Rest of India batsmen thrash insipid Rajasthan




In a complete contrasting turn of events from expectations, Rajasthan looked like minnows against Rest of India batsmens.

Before the start of the second day, thought going around is, Rajasthan has five bowlers but do they have quality to dismiss some of the best domestic batsmen in the Rest of India line-up? In the end, a tame answer were given by them. Rajasthan, back to back Ranji Trophy champions, put up a bowling performance worth for nothing. They were listless, unorganized, defensive and poor throughout the day. But this should take away nothing from the likes of Rahane, Vijay and Pujara batting today. They actually made the bowling of Rajasthan look even worse than it was with tremendous application at the crease. Especially Murali Vijay, who barely grazed the domestic stage last season and IPL 5, played brilliantly and made merry of runs. He ended the day unbeaten at 151 runs and Badrinath, state teammate in other end is batting at one as Rest of India finished the proceedings of second day with score of 328/2 and lead Rajasthan by 75 runs.

After disappointing last year, Murali Vijay opened the season with big century as he made merry of Rajasthan poor bowling.

Earlier, the opening pair of Rahane and Vijay set the tone for the day. They were equally aggressive to bad balls and watchful to occasional good balls in offer from the Rajasthan bowlers even with new ball. The pair scored boundaries at will and partnership reached three figures at a rate of 4 runs per over. With each passing ball, the chance for wicket to fall looked dim as both Rahane and Vijay were reluctant to throw away wickets through any unneeded shots. Rajasthan tried to tighten the runs after lunch with defensive field set but inconsistent bowling made the life of batting easy. But a stroke of luck gave Rajasthan their first wicket and the huge 173 runs opening stand got broken finally.

Rahane set off immediately after driving the ball firmly towards mid-on but the ball hit Vijay pad and rolled over to the fielder. By the time Rahane realized, he was more than half way down the pitch and had no chance to get back. Rahane was run out for 81 runs but it was pleasing to see him open the innings and scoring runs. Despite calls for Rahane to be picked as opener in Indian team playing XI, he doesn’t opens for his state team, Mumbai. Wish with next test match still 2 months away and Ranji starting soon, he make real statement for selection in XI by playing as opener.

The dismissal of Rahane had no impact on both Rest of India scoring rate and lethargic Rajasthan bowling. Vijay kept going strong, Pujara eased himself into the crease with boundaries as he even hit one out of the ground and Rajasthan bowlers continued to bowl half volleys, short one, fuller one and all at misdirected line.With Tea break around the corner, Murali Vijay bought up his well deserved century with a single to mid-on after slamming one over the mid-wicket a ball before.

After Tea, both Vijay and Pujara put their legs in accelerator. Runs came thick and fast for Rest of India, who strolled over the Rajasthan score of 253 runs in 68th over itself. Pujara bought up his fifty in the process with a pull over square leg in 76th over. Rajasthan took the new ball immediately once it was in due at 81st over, but inspite of the swing in offer late into the day, their bowlers didn’t stop spraying the ball all over the pitch. An unusual lapse of concentration from Pujara saw him edge the ball to keeper against the run of play with just 3 overs to go for stumps. But its just a consolation wicket for Rajasthan, who heat into tomorrow with likes of domestic stalwarts like Badrinath and Dinesh Karthick to play.

Brief Score: Rest of India 328/2 ( Murali Vijay 151*, Rahane 81) lead Rajasthan 253 (Robin Bist 117*, Umesh Yadav 5/55) by 75 runs

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