Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Spinners claim 21 wickets as Pondicherry secures first-innings lead over Jammu & Kashmir

The pitch turned out to be a spin paradise as the spinners claimed 21 wickets on day one of the elite Group-D match between Pondicherry and Jammu & Kashmir in the sixth round of the Ranji Trophy at the Cricket Association of Pondicherry (CAP) Siechem ground here on Friday.

The red-soil pitch enabled three five-wicket hauls. Left-arm spinner Sidak Singh’s maiden first-class fifer (five for 39) helped Pondicherry bowl out Jammu & Kashmir for a meek 106 within the first session itself. In response, left-arm spinners Abid Mushtaq (five for 64) and Vanshaj Sharma (five for 74) managed to restrict Pondicherry to 172.

It is Vanshaj’s maiden five-wicket haul on his Ranji debut.

The 60-run fifth-wicket partnership between Paras Dogra (58, 107b, 3×4) and K.B. Arun Karthick (50, 50b, 5×4) ensured that Pondicherry secured a 66-run first-innings lead.

Twelve wickets fell in the first session.

After Jammu & Kashmir opted to bat, Pondicherry captain Rohit Damodaran chose to bowl only spin from the second over itself.

Opener Qamran Iqbal was dropped by Akash Kargave at point off Sidak on the second over of the day, but it didn’t prove costly as Sidak had him caught by Mohit Mittan at slip in his second over.

Rohit brought himself into the attack in the eighth over and struck with his second delivery. He had the left-hander Vivrant Sharma caught by Mittan at cover. The off-spinner later had Shubham Pundir caught by Dogra at gully.

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Jammu & Kashmir’s batting was largely tentative. Vivrant charged at Sidak and missed the ball for the keeper to miss it too for four byes. Captain and opener Shubham Khajuria played and missed his sweep once, top-edged his sweep for the ball to fall short of the deep square leg fielder once, and was eventually dismissed when he top-edged his sweep again to be caught by Mittan at short midwicket, all off Sidak.

Abdul Samad came in when his team was on 28 for two and whacked a six to the cow corner boundary off Rohit on the second ball that he faced. Shubham Singh, attempting to hit a reverse sweep off Rohit, seemingly went off-balance and only ended up playing the shot one-handed.

There was seemingly no effort to hang in or build partnerships from the Jammu & Kashmir batters. In contrast, Paras Dogra, Akash Kargave (19, 44b), and Arun Karthick applied themselves and that made the difference for Pondicherry – 66 runs to be exact.

The scores:

Jammu & Kashmir – 1st innings: Shubham Khajuria c Mittan b Sidak 15, Qamran Iqbal c Mittan b Sidak 6, Vivrant Sharma c Mittan b Rohit 5, Abdul Samad c Karthick b Udeshi 10, Shubham Pundir c Dogra b Rohit 21, Sahil Lotra c Ratnaparkhe b Sidak 0, Fazil Rashid c Dogra b Udeshi 27, Abid Mushtaq b Sidak 2, Vanshaj Sharma b Udeshi 8, Umar Nazir Mir (not out) 6, Umran Malik b Sidak 0; Extras (b-4, lb-2): 6; Total (all out in 28.4 overs): 106.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-28, 3-38, 4-42, 5-43, 6-81, 7-84, 8-92, 9-105, 10-106.

Pondicherry bowling: Gaurav 1-0-10-0, Udeshi 10-0-34-3, Sidak 13.4-2-39-5, Rohit 4-0-17-2.

Pondicherry – 1st innings: Paras Ratnaparkhe lbw b Vanshaj 10, Karthikeyan Jayasundaram st Fazil b Vanshaj 0, Sagar Udeshi c Khajuria b Vanshaj 5, Paras Dogra lbw b Abid 58, Akash Kargave c Fazil b Abid 19, Arun Karthick b Vanshaj 50, Sidak Singh c Lotra b Abid 3, Mohit Mittan c Vivrant b Vanshaj 18, Rohit Damodaran c Samad b Abid 2, Krishna Pandey c & b Abid 7, Gaurav Yadav (not out) 0; Extras: 0; Total (all out in 55.1 overs): 172.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-8, 3-43, 4-75, 5-135, 6-141, 7-145, 8-148, 9-172, 10-172.

Jammu & Kashmir bowling: Abid 25-3-64-5, Vanshaj 21.1-1-74-5, Lotra 5-0-15-0, Umran 3-0-15-0, Vivrant 1-0-4-0.

Jammu & Kashmir – 2nd innings: Umran Malik c Karthick b Udeshi 0, Shubham Khajuria (not out) 0; Extras: 0; Total (for 1 wkt. in 0.1 over): 0.

Fall of wickets: 1-0.

Pondicherry bowling: Udeshi 0.1-0-0-1.

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