On a day when 12 wickets fell, Saurashtra lived to fight another day. Having conceded a 115-run first-innings lead to Punjab, the visitors were reeling at 86 for 4 in their second innings but a gritty unbeaten 72 by Sagar Jogiyani helped Saurashtra recover to be placed at 212 for seven at close.
Jogiyani’s efforts helped them secure a lead of 97. On a wicket on which the medium-pacers have held sway with every run being precious, Saurashtra can put Punjab under pressure if they set a target of over 150. However, they will need Jogiyani, who brought his 56 First-Class match experience into play, to continue his fight back at the PCA Stadium.
Saurashtra could have finished in a better position if they hadn’t lost two wickets - that of Aarpit Vasavada and Sandip Maniar - towards the end of the day. Both these wickets were bagged by Sandeep Sharma, Punjab’s bowling hero of the first innings with figures of 7 for 25. Of the first four wickets to fall in Saurashtra’s second innings, the biggest blow was that of Ravindra Jadeja, trapped leg-before-wicket by Siddharth Kaul for no score.
Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah with 28 and Vasavada added valuable partnerships with Jogiyani to help revive the Saurashtra innings. Vasavada added 77 for the sixth wicket with Jogiyani after Shah and Jogiyani added 57 runs.
Jogiyani batted 204 minutes and was composed right through his innings on a wicket on which his teammates largely struggled to score confidently. Before Jogiyani stitched together the two partnerships, Saurashtra were staring at the prospect of losing the match within just two days.
While medium-pacer Sharma was the star of Punjab’s bowling on Saturday when Saurashtra was bowled for 90, his bowling partner Kaul picked up four wickets on Sunday. Kaul swung the ball to put both Saurashtra openers, Chirag Pathak and Bhushan Chauhan, in two minds. Both didn’t possess the technique on the day to quell the threat posed by Kaul and were dismissed caught behind. Shitanshu Kotak, the Saurashtra No.3, was trapped in front by Kaul.
Punjab’s batsmen failed to cash in on the effective spell of Sharma. Resuming at 125 for 5, they were bowled out for 205. Uday Kaul, the in-form Punjab batsman, played remained not out on 41 as Saurashtra seamers Siddharth Trivedi with five and Sandip Maniar and Jaydev Unadkat