B. Sai Sudarshan’s patient half-century helped Rest of India score 298 for 8 despite other batsmen struggling against Saurashtra spinners on a gripping surface on the opening day of their Irani Trophy match here on Sunday.
Sudarshan’s 72 off 165 balls was the cornerstone of RoI’s innings, as left-arm spinner Parth Bhut took four wickets (4/85) to inflict serious damage on their top and middle-order.
Two future India contenders Sarfaraz Khan (17) and Yash Dhull (10) failed once again in an important fixture, which also underlined their indifferent form in the past few months.
In fact, Dhull’s selection in Rest of India after not even scoring 300 runs have come under scanner.
Once he called correct at toss, Hanuma Vihari did not have to think twice to opt to bat, as the RoI captain could not have fancied his side batting fourth on this surface at the SCA Stadium.
His decision seemed working as openers Sudarshan and Mayank Agarwal milked 69 runs off 112 balls.
The pitch seemed a trustworthy ally in the first session too, but the first hint of turn and grip came when left-arm spinner Dharemendrasinh Jadeja made Agarwal edge one to Preark Mankad at first slip.
Sudarshan and Vihari joined forces and added a further 69 runs for the second wicket but the persistence of Bhut yielded results soon.
Vihari’s soft prod off the left-arm spinner ended in the hands of Samarth Vyas at silly point.
But Sudarshan, who recently won the English county championship with Surrey, soldiered on and looked in comfort while playing a few sweeps and drives.
His experience of playing on such pitches in league matches in Tamil Nadu came to the fore too in this innings.
But Sudarshan could not kick on as he returned to the pavilion, perishing to the Bhut-Mankad combination.
The dismissal of Sudarshan pushed the Rest of India into a mini slump as they lost three wickets for just 22 runs.
But a couple of 30s from the late order batters carried Rest of India close to the 300-run mark, and the total could prove vital on a track that is increasingly slowing down.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)