Ranji Trophy: Goa face uphill task as Chhattisgarh post big score


A captain's knock of 96 by Harpreet Singh Bhatia and significant lower-order runs placed hosts Chhattisgarh in a formidable position against Goa at stumps on Day 2 in the seventh-round Ranji Trophy Elite 'C' Group fixture at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium, Raipur on Wednesday.

Resuming at 273-4, Chhattisgarh lost mainstay Amandeep Khare early in the day. Speedster Vijesh Prabhudessai beat Khare for pace with only a solitary run to his name as Goa looked to make further inroads. While Vijesh swung the ball both ways, Lakshay Garg bowled stump-to-stump as the pace pair looked in right earnest to hunt in tandem.

Batting all-rounder, Shashank Singh joined his captain Bhatia, who was looking good on 30. Shashank appeared in good touch and stitched a partnership of 55 with Bhatia until he had to retire hurt on 19. Chhattisgarh were at this point 337-5 and were eyeing for a big total on a placid deck. Making matters worse for Goa was the absence of left-arm pacer Arjun Tendulkar in the attack on the day owing to a niggle.

At lunch, the hosts were at a healthy 403-6 in 121 overs with Bhatia on 91 and keeper-batsman M S S Hussain on 15. All-rounder Ajay Mandal (16) was the only other batsman to fall in a productive first session for the home team that saw them score 130 runs in 33 overs.

Shortly after lunch, Bhatia was deceived by a Garg delivery that was short of length and going towards off stump only to be cleaned up for 96 (164b, 12x4, 2x6). With Bhatia the seventh batter to fall at the score of 409, and Shashank having returned to the crease perishing next ball chipping an attempted drive to be caught well by Manthan Khutkar at mid off, there was a dramatic shift and Garg was suddenly on a hat-trick. But things were not to augur any better for the visitors as the hosts' late order made some meaty contributions. Chattisgarh eventually declared at 531-9 with their last pair of Vasudev Bareth on 48 (105b, 4x4, 1x6) and Ravi Kiran on 46 (36b, 5x4, 3x6) putting on a rollicking unbroken 77-runs tenth-wicket stand at almost a run-a-ball.

In reply, Goa suffered an early setback. Manthan Khutkar lost his off stump to the industrious pacer Ravi Kiran for a laborious 3. The other opener, Ishaan Gadekar on 28, and one-down Suyash Prabhudesai on 13 were at the crease when stumps were drawn with Goa 51-1 in reply. The visitors trail by 480 runs.

SCORES: Chhattisgarh 1st inns 531-9 d in 155 ov (Shashank Chandrakar 101, Harpreet Singh Bhatia 96, AG Tiwary 86, Lakshay Garg 3-88, Vijesh Prabhudessai 3-102); Goa 1st inns 51-1 in 17 ov (Ishaan Gadekar 28*, Ravi Kiran 1-20). Goa trail by 480 runs

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