Jai P Yadav puts Railways on course for an outright win
Jai P Yadav has made a strong case for his inclusion in the India one-day eleven with his fine all-round showing in the Irani Trophy. After compiling 104 on the second and third days, the 26-year-old decided to make an impression with the ball on the fourth day. Bowling his medium-pace trundlers, he devastated the Rest of India batting, claiming six wickets and paving the way for their being dismissed for 292 in the second essay. This left Railways needing just 243 on the final day for sealing an outright win.
The stunning Rest of India collapse came after a 123-run opening stand between Wasim Jaffer and Akash Chopra. Chopra was the first to fall after his second fifty of the match, a 59 off 116 balls. Rest of India skipper Yuvraj Singh, who followed, helped Jaffer add 47 for the second wicket before he too was forced to make his way back to the pavilion after scoring 26.
Yadav, who claimed Yuvraj's wicket, went to add another five more scalps, as the Rest were reduced to 235-7. At the same score, Jaffer, who had stood firm till then to make 116 off 321 balls, too departed, falling to medium-pacer Harvinder Singh. Irfan Pathan (29), Timil Patel (11) and Tinu Yohannan (16), then, cobbled together 57 runs for the last two wickets, as Rest got to within eight runs of 300.
But with 90 overs of play remaining on the last day, it is the Railways who hold the whiphand in this contest. If they play to potential, they should run out winners and have the joy of adding the Irani Trophy to the Ranji Trophy they have already won.