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Amol Karhadkar in Pune
November 10, 2012
It was surprising to see Kedar Jadhav on the field of play a little over 20 minutes after his dismissal. Stumps had been drawn for the day but the triple-centurion, expectedly appearing drained, was back on the field to interact with his teammates and well-wishers.
What happened to the ice bath? After all, the toll that the memorable knock, "undoubtedly the best of my career", had taken on Jadhav's body would demand one of the longest ice baths - around 20 minutes at least - to help him recover for the rigours in the field for the next two days.
"I shall go and have one now," said Jadhav, who made 327 - the second-highest by a Maharashtra batsman ever in the Ranji Trophy - against Uttar Pradesh. "The body didn't feel anything in the morning session but after lunch, I was feeling the pain every minute. The fingers were sore and then it started trickling down to other body parts."
Jadhav, who was unbeaten on 102 at the start today, started off in blazing fashion - with a square cut off Imtiaz Ahmed of the first ball of the day and then with a flick to the square-leg boundary in the same over. Those two shots displayed that the fizz hadn't disappeared overnight and that those who turned up to watch the action would remember the day for a long time.
What was astonishing during Jadhav's knock was the fact that never once did his strike-rate dip below run-a-ball during his almost nine-hour stay at the wicket. Forget a triple; this was Jadhav's first double century in a competitive game.
"I haven't played much of inter-school and inter-college cricket and have never crossed a double hundred for my club," said Jadhav, whose previous best in first-class was an unbeaten 114. "Only once in a practice match did I score about 220 but that was a practice game, so you will have to consider this one as my first double century. All I can hope for is this won't be the last one."
And even though he tore the UP bowling into pieces, playing virtually every stroke in the book - right from a cover drive to a late cut to a straight drive to an upper cut to inside-out lofted drives and even reverse-sweeps - Jadhav was candid in admitting that the UP bowlers made his task easier.
"On both the days, they were not consistent. Most of the times, they offered at least one loose ball every over and we had to make sure we didn't let that one go," Jadhav, 27, said. "And they kept on bowling to both sides of the wicket, making it difficult for the captain to set fields."
Complementing Jadhav for his "superb knock", UP coach Venkatesh Prasad also lamented his bowlers' consistency of spraying the ball all over the wicket. "We discussed it after the first day's play but somehow our bowlers failed to implement the issues that needed to be addressed," Prasad said. "Hopefully, our batsmen will make up for it by scoring big on a flat deck."
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