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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran in Bangalore
September 24, 2012
Rest of India 607 for 7 declared (Vijay 266, Rahane 81, Pujara 78, Karthik 56, Badrinath 55) beat Rajasthan 253 (Bist 117*, Umesh 5-55) and 275 (Kanitkar 73, Bist 67, Harmeet 4-45) an innings and 79 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The margins of defeat for the Ranji champions in five of the previous six years in the Irani Cup: 404 runs, 361 runs, 187 runs, nine wickets and nine wickets. This season was just as comprehensive, as Rest of India completed a comfortable innings-and-79-run victory on the fourth day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Rajasthan's batting and bowling were both not at the level of Rest of India's, but what really hurt them as they tried to at least take the match to the fifth day was their appalling running between the wickets.
There was an early alarm when Hrishkesh Kanitkar and Vineet Saxena had a communication breakdown, but both had the time to return to their creases. That wasn't the case in the 26th over when Saxena nudged the ball towards square leg and took off, but Kanitkar didn't respond and a sprawling Ishant Sharma fired in the throw to end the overnight partnership.
Till then they had been largely untroubled by the pace of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, and a wicket had looked unlikely. Kanitkar and the batsman who had his reputation most enhanced in this the game, Robin Bist, were then comfortable against everything Rest of India threw at them. A few overs before lunch, Rest of India had resorted to having three men deep on the leg side when the left-arm spinners were operating, allowing Kanitkar to push the ball around and accumulate. Bist was more aggressive, unleashing some powerful drives and the partnership swelled towards a hundred.
That stand also ended through a mix-up. Kanitkar pushed the ball towards point and wanted the single, but Bist didn't. Though the return from Badrinath was a tough take for wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, there was enough time for the bails to be taken off and two of Rajasthan's most adhesive batsmen had given away their wickets recklessly.
Bist wasn't as solid as in the first innings, edging several past the keeper in the middle of some crisp striking. With Pragyan Ojha getting the odd ball to turn and bounce, much depended on Bist if Rajasthan were to avoid an innings defeat. His footwork had been precise in much of the match, but on 67, he was caught on the crease to a delivery from Ojha that neither jumped nor turned dramatically, but still managed to sneak between bat and pad.
That brought together the last pair of recognised batsmen, RR Parida and Dishant Yagnik. That pair, too, was separated by a run-out. Parida played the ball out towards sweeper cover; Yagnik ambled through the first run, assuming there was only an easy two to be taken before Umesh Yadav fielded; Parida pushed for the third but Umesh, who unlike most Indian fast bowlers has a strong arm, rifled in a throw that caught Yagnik short.
Rajasthan were soon down to 226 for 8, on a track which was still not spiteful, against an attack which was not exactly fearsome. Ishant was disciplined, keeping the ball around off but wasn't able to regularly clock above 130kph, Umesh continued to bowl too wide to worry batsmen consistently and the spinners were steady though not menacing.
Even without Rest of India's bowlers being at their best, Rajasthan were overwhelmed in the match, again highlighting the vast difference in between the two sides.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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