Rahane-Pujara are two much for railmen
The Western Railway ground was nearly empty with the only visitors being birds in mid-flight en route to their destination. The venue at the heart of the city is near one of the city’s famous malls_Phoenix_ which gets thousands of shoppers everyday. But only a handful turned up to watch unbeaten centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane,turning out for Indian Oil in the Times Shield A division match. It was a sight of the future and one can say that the world will watch them doing this tango when they play together for India in coming years.
Pujara-Rahane hail from the same school of thought and both have earned a reputation for marathon innings in domestic cricket. They don’t give away their wicket easily and if Rahane’s wicket is dubbed important,then Pujara’s will be called priceless for a rival domestic team.
Monday was no different for Pujara-Rahane,as they both occupied the crease nicely once again and had the Western Railway bowlers toiling whole day. It was just four years ago when Pujara-Rahane had added nearly 400 runs for the second wicket and scored 220 and 283 runs respectively against Air India.
It was after a long time that we both batted together for so long. It is not an easy wicket to bat on as ball is coming on slowly and the outfield also is slow, Rahane says. The Mumbai batsman gave some half chances but Pujara didn’t. He was solid in his defense with his body coming nicely behind the ball.
Focus was immense and what followed was a long unbeatable innings.
During the tea break,Pujara had admitted that the heat was draining them out and at one stage he felt dehydrated. But seeing the next man in waiting_Wasim Jaffer_one couldn’t take the risk of going back to pavilion,he quipped. If Wasim bhai bats,then our chance to take the crease will come only the next day. Even Ajinkya felt cramps but we both said that we will carry on, Pujara said. It was just few week ago,that Saurashtra’ run-machine had scored 153 not out,125 not out and 79 in NKP Salve Challenger Series and it seems Pujara is continuing where he had left from.
We decided to end the day like this and come bat again with fresh legs. That is why we didn’t go after bowlers even after completing hundreds, Rahane pointed out.
Fresh legs,indeed bowlers need to worry about the days to come.
Rahanes knock of 116 came after facing 272 balls with ten fours while Pujara hit two sixes and ten fours in his 199 balls knock of 109.
At DY Patil Stadium,medium pacer Rajesh Varma and Jaydev Unadkat helped BPCL restrict DY Patil A for paltry 115 runs. In reply,BPCL were 106 for 2 at stumps. At MIG ground, Bandra 19 wickets fell on opening day.
Brief scores: Division A: Tata Sports 124 (Kaustubh Pawar 41, Sujit Nayak 26; Ankit Chavan 5 for 25, Ajit Chandila 2 for 31, Badre Alam 45) vs Air- India 144 for 9 (Ajit Chandila 34, Paul Valthaty 24; Wikin Mota 2 for 14, Usman Malvi 2 for 41, Ramesh Powar 2-9,Kaustubh Pawar 2 for 31); Jain Irrigation 282 for 7 (Shashank Singh 31, Amit Patil 59, Abhishek Raut 116,Kshemal Waingankar 3-66,Anupam Sanklecha 3 for 66 ) vs DY Patil A144 for 9 Group B : DY Patil A 115 (Rehmani Suffiyan 37, Jaydev Unadkar 5 for 25, Rajesh Varma 3 for 39 (includimg hat-trick) vs BPCL 106 for 2 (Bhavin Thakkar 67); Indian Oil 274 for 1 (Ravikant Shukla 32, Ajinkya Rahane batting 116, Cheteshwar Pujara batting 109) vs Western Rly. B.