Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Sarwate spins Vidarbha in front on 13-wicket day

Aditya Sarwate got the big wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara for the second time in the match PTI

Saurashtra 307 and 58 for 5 (Vishvaraj 23*, Makvana 2*, Sarwate 3-13) need another 148 runs to beat Vidarbha 312 and 200 (Sarwate 49, Dharmendrasinh 6-96)

Last ball of the ninth over of the Saurashtra second innings. Cheteshwar Pujara leans forward to defend a flighted delivery from Aditya Sarwate on off and middle. He plays for the turn from the left-arm spinner, but there isn't any, and he is trapped plumb in front for a five-ball duck.

Sarwate sets off, his team-mates in hot pursuit while also high-fiving each other, before he stops and lets out a roar. It is, after all, the big moment, and Sarwate has done it two times in two innings.

He has done much more than that, actually. After picking up five wickets in the Saurashtra first innings, Sarwate winkled out three top Saurashtra batsmen inside nine overs, leaving them 22 for three in a chase of 206. First-innings centurion Snell Patel - check. Harvik Desai - check. And Pujara, the big fish - check. Not ideal from Saurashtra's point of view as they looked to avoid making it three final losses in seven seasons, but perfect for Vidarbha, the defending champions.

It got worse for Saurashtra as Arpit Vasavada was done in by Umesh Yadav's pace, sending a regulation catch behind the stumps. Then Sheldon Jackson, very early in his innings, stepped out to Akshay Wakhare and attempted to send the ball out of Jamtha. The ball kept low, and snaked it to hit the stumps.

Vishvaraj Jadeja, composed but not overly cautious so far in his innings, went to stumps unbeaten on 23, and had for company Kamlesh Makvana on two.

Earlier, after they started on 55 for two, Vidarbha batted two sessions, added 145 runs, and lost their eight remaining wickets, four of them to Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, who completed a six-for in the process.

Ganesh Satish and Wasim Jaffer were in the middle when proceedings began, but Dharmendrasinh found Jaffer's edge in the eighth over of the morning with one that didn't bounce much, and substitute wicketkeeper Avi Barot pouched the catch.

The scoreboard read 71 for three at that stage, and it was 73 for five in almost no time as Dharmendrasinh trapped Satish in front for 35 and Jaydev Unadkat got a full-pitched delivery to straighten and go past Akshay Wadkar's defensive prod and hit timber.

Vidarbha needed a fightback, and they got a bit of it from Mohit Kale and Akshay Karnewar, the two adding 32 runs before Makvana caught Karnewar's edge on the drive and Desai clung on at slip.

Kale battled on to make a valuable 38 on a pitch that was turning big by that stage, but the big contribution came from Sarwate, who top-scored in the innings with 49 before becoming the last wicket to fall, having given himself and his bowling mates more to bowl at than looked likely at one stage.

Umesh also chipped in with a 12-ball 15 as the last three Vidarbha wickets added 66 runs - it has been a trend in the game, the last three wickets had put up 116 in Vidarbha's first dig and 123 in Saurashtra's reply. Saurashtra will hope Vishvaraj and Makvana, and next-man Prerak Mankad, don't leave the tail with too much to do, but it might well be the case if Sarwate & Co. have it their way on the fifth morning.

Saurashtra 4th innings Partnerships

1st19SS PatelHM Desai
2nd3HM DesaiVM Jadeja
3rd0CA PujaraVM Jadeja
4th13AV VasavadaVM Jadeja
5th20SP JacksonVM Jadeja
6th33KR MakvanaVM Jadeja
7th3PN MankadVM Jadeja
8th12DA JadejaVM Jadeja
9th18JD UnadkatDA Jadeja
10th6DA JadejaC Sakariya