Jharkhand 236 for 5 (Tiwary 65, Virat 57, Mohanty 2-43) lead Odisha 152 (Pattnaik 43, Nadeem 4-31, Gupta 3-56) by 84 runs
Virat Singh and Saurabh Tiwary made good use of perfect batting conditions at the St. Xavier's College Ground in Thumba to help Jharkhand take the first-innings lead on the second day of their final Group B clash against Odisha.
Having folded for 152 on the opening day, Odisha needed to grab the chances that came their way. But they let off Tiwary on 5 at short fine leg. The Jharkhand captain struck 65 before retiring hurt; Jharkhand ended the day on 236 for 5 for a lead of 84.
The day began with a fiery spell from Suryakant Pradhan. Sumit Kumar was bowled by one that cut back in at pace and uprooted leg stump. Virat walked out to a chirpy cordon and a short-ball barrage from Pradhan, who was pacy and hit good lengths to extract bounce on a flat deck. He also grazed the shoulder of Anand Singh on an occasion.
Jharkhand's batsmen, however, kept the score ticking, running sharply between wickets, making for a neat contrast to Odisha's start on the first day. When Pradhan erred in his length, they were smart in using his pace to pick up boundaries.
Anand and Virat added 63 for the second wicket to offset the early loss of Sumit, before Govinda Poddar, the Odisha captain, broke through, having Anand caught at cover. Poddar was denied a double strike when Tiwary lobbed a catch that the short fine leg fielder missed in the last over before lunch.
Virat showed good judgement outside off and used his feet well against the spinners. The fifty came with a straight six after stepping down the track to Poddar. Virat handled the short and fuller balls with ease, cutting and driving to equal effect. But when he fell, it was to a nothing shot, trying to guide a wide ball from Basant Mohanty and finding point.
Tiwary, though, was unafraid to loft the ball when it was pitched up. Shortly after he retired hurt, Mohanty struck for Jharkhand when Ishank Jaggi charged down the track and missed a fuller ball that took out off stump.
A couple of muscular straight sixes from Kaushal Singh provided some late entertainment before Jharkhand suffered a late setback. Ishan Kishan, who had benefitted from some neat tucks and a swept boundary, was trapped lbw by Deepak Behera in the penultimate over of the day. But given the amount of dust on the surface, this lead could soon swell into a decisive one.