Ranji Trophy Final: Saxena strikes double ton as Rajasthan crawl

Chennai, Jan 20 (IANS) Riding on Vineet Saxena’s double century, holders Rajasthan showed their intent to wear down Tamil Nadu, piling up 404 for two in the first innings on the second day of the Ranji Trophy final at the Chepauk here Friday.

Going by Rajasthan’s crawl on a pitch that has proven to be the villain with its slow pace and low bounce, the five-day game appears heading for a tame draw unless Tamil Nadu collapse dramatically to inject some life into the proceedings.
There was little to commend about on a day that saw openers Saxena (207, 25×4, 1×6) and Akash Chopra (94) going about their task with as much, if not more, caution than they had shown the previous day.
Chopra missed out on a century that was there for the taking as he was foxed by the low bounce and was trapped leg-before to left-arm spinner Sunny Gupta to provide Tamil Nadu their first success of the match.
Thereafter, skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who showed far more aggression and enterprise to put some momentum into the innings, added 126 for the second wicket while Saxena inched his way to a double century.
Kanitkar fell attempting a drive off a tossed up delivery by off-spinner Sunny Gupta and edged to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik.
In came Rajasthan’s most prolific batsman this season, Robin Bist and there was no reprieve for Tamil Nadu bowlers who continued to toil and sweat more in hope than with any degree of confidence as the surface offered no assistance.
If anything, Saxena displayed remarkable powers of concentration as also his fitness to bat two full days, though the pace at which he scored could ultimately work against Rajasthan should the net run rate come into equation in the event of Tamil Nadu not being able to complete their first innings.
The one time when runs came in a torrent was during part-timer Murali Vijay’s spell of three overs during which he sent down some innocuous off-breaks to concede 18 runs. However, there was little to enthuse about the day’s proceedings as a contest between bat and ball.
Brief Scores:
At Chennai: Rajasthan 404/2 in 180 overs (Akash Chopra 86, Vineet Saxena batting 207; Sunny Gupta 82/1, Aushik Srinivas 105/1) vs Tamil Nadu