November 12, 2001

Sanjeev Sharma puts Rajasthan in commanding position

Staff Reporter

Rajasthan, riding on a fine bowling performance from Sanjeev Sharma (6-55), had the upper hand over Madhya Pradesh in their Ranji Trophy league match at Jaipur after the first two days.

The visitors, winning the toss, opted to bat but started disastrously, losing four wickets with just 32 on the board. A 109-run partnership between Devendra Parmar and Abbas Ali saved Madhya Pradesh further blushes. Both batted extremely cautiously, eschewing aggression for occupation of the crease.

Abbas Ali was the first to go, making 71 off 187 balls; his partner proceeded to become even more limpet-like and, at the close of play on Day One, Madhya Pradesh were 169/5, with Parmar and Nikhil Patwardhan at the crease.

Wickets fell fast on Day Two; Parmar's vigil finally ended when he became the eighth wicket to fall, Sanjeev Sharma's sixth in the innings. He had made exactly 50 off a staggering 296 balls, spending 365 minutes in the middle.

The start to Rajasthan's innings could not have been more contrasting; both Gagan Khoda and Vineet Saxena played their strokes. Khoda, however, retired hurt with the score on 55 and had to return when his side was on 143/5, for Sanjay Pandey (3-52) and Narendra Hirwani (2-88) knocked over Rajasthan's top-order.

At the close of play on Day Two, the home side were on 200/6, the innings having stabilised by virture of Khoda's mature 55 and Rohit Jhalani's patient 19 not out.