Baroda were 183/2 at the close of play on the third day in the Ranji Trophy final played at Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation Ground, Baroda, on Saturday. Satyajit Parab with an elegant unbeaten 99 is leading the Baroda fightback after having allowed Railways to accumulate runs to take a crucial 151 runs first innings lead. Railways made 394 all out in their first innings.
Baroda in their second innings applied themselves to amass runs with a lot of conviction, CC Williams and Parab put together a century stand for the first wicket. They added 102 runs, before Williams (41) played a loose shot to be caught by Bangar at first slip of Tejinder Singh. Nayan Mongia played sensibly to make 15 runs till a rush of blood cost him his wicket. He was caught by Harvinder Singh at deep mid-off off the bowling of Murali Kartik, trying to loft the ball over the long-off fence.
Skipper Jacob Martin survived some anxious moments and was unbeaten on nine at close of play. But the story of the Baroda second innings has been the brilliance of Parab. He showed commendable ability to keep his focus as he kept the Railways attack at bay, striking nine boundaries in his innings.
Railways who had started the day on 318/8 added another 76 runs before losing their last two wickets. Murali Kartik played well this morning to score runs freely to get past his Fifty. He made 79 runs with the help of seven fours, before being brilliantly stumped by Nayan Mongia off the bowling of Bhoite. Kartik and Kulamani Parida put together a vital partnership of 113 runs for the ninth wicket in 42.3 overs.
Parida (47) and Harvinder Singh (17*) added 35 valuable runs for the last wicket. Parida was caught by Irfan Pathan off the bowling of Valmik Buch at the long-on fence, failing to clear the ropes. Just before his dismissal Parida had to deal with a nasty piece of fast bowling from a frustrated Zaheer Khan. He had Parida taking evasive action to the short pitched stuff, then with a shoulder high beamer he struck Parida on the wrists, which required attention. Zaheer followed it with a 'sand-shoe-crusher', the yorker crashing into Parida's front foot. Parida had to be taken to the hospital for X-rays and did not join his mates in the Baroda second innings.
Baroda clearly missed the services of its best fast bowler Rakesh Patel (2/49), who is nursing a leg injury. Zaheer Khan (3/92), Buch (3/86) and Bhoite (2/64) got amongst the wickets. Railways will have to bowl exceptionally well to reduce Baroda in their second innings as batting last on this track might turn out to be tricky affair.