New Delhi: Services captain Soumik Chatterjee and veteran campaigner Yashpal Singh put on a remarkable fightback with a 152-run partnership to put the hosts in the driver’s seat against Kerala on day three of their fifth-round Ranji Trophy match.
Chatterjee scored his career’s third first-class century to ensure three points for Services after his team was bowled for 335 for a lead of 21 on Monday in reply to Kerala’s 314. Kerala in their second innings scored 9 runs with openers Abhishek Hegde (8) and VA Jagadeesh (1), who also made a blistering 199 not out in the first innings, unbeaten at the crease when stumps were drawn on day three.
Resuming at an overnight score of 84 for 2, Services got off to a terrible start as they lost their third wicket in the form of Saumya Swain (30) who was caught at third slip off the bowling of Perumparambath Anthaf in the third over of the opening session. But Yashpal, who came at No 5, displayed immense concentration and reached his half-century off 90 balls to revive the innings with a 152-run stand with his captain.
From 179 for 3 at lunch, Services progressed to 242 before losing Yashpal for 89 off 147 balls in the 89th over. Sandeep Warrier, who claimed two wickets on Sunday, trapped the veteran lbw. Chatterjee marched on to his century in 298 balls – his first in three years – and punished Warrier with three consecutive boundaries after being hit on the helmet on the first ball of his over. The decision to bring back Warrier from around the stumps worked for Kerala, however, as the well-settled Chatterjee fell while trying to play a short ball. He gave an easy catch to CP Shahid at point for 107 off 313 balls.
From here, Services lost their last six wickets for 71 runs as Shahid (2 for 44) and Rohan Prem (2 for 30) picked up two wickets apiece. However, Rajat Paliwal (17) and wicketkeeper Sarabjit Singh (25) got the total past 300 to ensure three points as a draw look the only option.
Speaking to the Cricketnext, Services skipper Soumik Chaterjee who scored a century on day three said, “The job has not finished yet. I want an outright win for my team. I will try to get the same win as we did it in the last match against Assam. We will try to wrap up Kerala innings as soon as possible. If we will be able to do within 150, then we can do that.”
On being asked about the three consecutive fours off Sandeep Warrier’s over after being hit on the helmet, Soumik said, “I was not aggressive. I couldn’t judge the first delivery and when I found the ball taking bounce, I went on and took the advantage”.