Nadeem, Kaushal inflict innings-defeat on Odisha

Jharkhand 348 (Kaushal 86*, Tiwary 78, Mohanty 3-56, Behera 2-37) beat Odisha 152 (Pattnaik 43, Nadeem 4-31, Sunny 3-56) and 103 (Kaushal 3-17, Nadeem 3-28) by an innings and 93 runs

Odisha crumbled around Jharkhand's spinners to fold for 103 to lose by an innings and 93 runs on a 15-wicket third day's play at the St. Xavier's College Ground in Thumba. With the win, Jharkhand collected seven points to top the Group B table, displacing Karnataka, while Odisha were consigned to their first outright defeat of the season.

While the ball still did not grip and spin viciously despite the puffs of dust, Odisha's batsmen struggled to come to terms with the slowness of the surface and the lack of bounce. Shahbaz Nadeem followed up his first-innings effort with 3 for 28 to finish with seven wickets in the match, and Kaushal Singh took 3 for 17.

Kaushal had also come good with the bat earlier in the day, his unbeaten 86 taking Jharkhand to 348 with a first-innings lead of 196. Kaushal was denied a second first-class century on account of Sunny Gupta having to retire hurt on 18 after twisting his ankle while running between the wickets.

Jharkhand began with spin from both ends with Nadeem and Kaushal sharing the new ball. Ranjit Singh and Sandeep Pattnaik put on an improved but still sluggish opening stand of 25 in 10.2 overs before Ranjit ran himself out, changing his mind after coming halfway down having tucked the ball to midwicket.

Govinda Poddar, the Odisha captain, was caught behind trying to glance. Poddar stood his ground, but the umpire raised his finger.

Pattnaik and Senapati got together for a 20-run stand after which Odisha lost six wickets for 19 runs. Both Senapati and Pattnaik were offered reprieves, but neither could capitalise, falling to the two spinners in consecutive overs. Senapati was caught off Nadeem while Pattnaik perished after shuffling back to a quick and flat one from Kaushal.

Biplab Samantray was caught brilliantly by Virat Singh at silly point off Nadeem, who by now was bowling slow through the air and getting the ball to dip, making Odisha's batsmen reach out.

When Surykant Pradhan was caught off Kaushal trying to clear long-on, Odisha were 84 for 8. Deepak Behera and Dhiraj Singh pushed the score past the 100 mark before falling in the same over - the 47th of the innings.

The lack of bounce wasn't as severe when Jharkhand batted in the morning. They lost Nadeem off the third ball of the day after which Tiwary came out to resume his innings on 65 having retired hurt on the first day. Tiwary added 13 more to his overnight tally before getting bowled through the gate off a straight ball from Basant Mohanty.

Kaushal and Gupta then shared a partnership. After Gupta retired hurt, Kaushal opened up and struck lusty blows. Vikash Singh was stumped off Dhiraj Singh, missing a straight ball as he came down the track played for the turn.

Kaushal added 30 more for the ninth wicket with Ajay Yadav. Ajay was trapped lbw by Dhiraj and he pointed at his bat, indicating an inside edge. His dismissal left Kaushal stranded on 86 off 124 balls that had come with the help of eight fours and five sixes.