October 4, 2011 5:15:16 pm
The Rest of India are all set to win the Irani Trophy for the sixth consecutive time in recent years after setting Rajasthan an impossible target of 618 to win at stumps on the penultimate day at Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
As a contest,the match as contest was over once Rajasthan were all-out for 400 ensuring a huge 263 run first innings lead for the Rest on a day when a few records tumbled. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha got a five-for and send a timely reminder to the selectors.
Without enforcing follow-on,the Rest skipper Parthiv Patel wanted his batsmen to have a go at the hapless Rajasthan attack. Shikhar Dhawan (155) and Abhinav Mukund (154) went hammer and tongs at the below par attack smashing 310 runs in only 45.1 overs and they ultimately declared at 354 for two.
The hosts were 28 for no loss when stumps were drawn.
It was pure entertainment for the small crowd as Dhawan and Mukund carted the Rajasthan bowlers with utter disdain.
Dhawan was finally holed out having scored his runs off only 126 balls with help of 22 fours and three sixes.
The Delhi lad became the first batsman in history of Irani Cup to score century in both innings.
With this performance,Dhawan certainly has come back into national reckoning. Mukund,who was scratchy in the first essay also got much-needed confidence with a three-figure mark although it counts for little in the context of the match.
The Tamil Nadu southpaw also became the first player in the history of tournament to score hat-trick of centuries having reached three-fugure against Mumbai both in 2009-10 and 2010-11 season. His 154 came off 159 balls with 19 boundaries and two sixes.
The 310-run partnership was the second time that Rest team has got past 300-run mark. The last time was back in 1990 when Ravi Shastri and Praveen Amre had added 327 runs against Bengal.
After reaching their individual milestones,the duo matched each other stroke for stroke as the ball repeatedly sailed into the stands.
Earlier in the day,it was Ojha who executed his plan to perfection dismissing Ashok Menaria. Knowing about southpaw’s penchant to go for lofted hits,Mukund was pushed back to long-on where the former India colts skipper was holed out.
Menaria’s dismissal took the stuffing out of Rajasthan’s resistance as Ojha duly got his 13th five-wicket haul getting Deepak Chahar and Sumit Mathur’s wickets.
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