Ranji Trophy: Sakibul Gani’s triple ton, Sarfaraz Khan double century highlight Day 2

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Bihar batter Sakibul Gani’s historic triple ton and Sarfaraz Khan’s superb double century were the highlights on Day 2 of the 2021/22 Ranji Trophy on Friday.

With his sensational knock (341 runs off 405), Gani became the first triple centurion of the ongoing Ranji season He was involved in a mammoth 538-run partnership with Babul Kumar as Bihar posted 686/5 decl against Mizoram.

Gani’s knock was also a world record as he became the first debutant to score a triple hundred in first-class cricket.The Gani-Babul partnership was the fifth time a pair managed 500-plus in Indian first-class cricket and also the fourth highest partnership in Indian cricket.

Babul was unbeaten on 229 when Bihar declared their innings. In reply, Mizoram were 40/3, trailing by 646 runs at the end of day’s play.

In another solid batting display of the day, Lalit Yadav’s knock of 177 off 287 put Delhi in a position of strength against Tamil Nadu. Starting Day 2 at 45 not out, with Delhi on 291/7, Lalit was involved in a 92-run stand with Vikas Mishra for the ninth wicket, with the latter contributing only 7 of those runs as Yadav faced most of the deliveries to lead Delhi towards a good total.

No 11 Kuldip Yadav also stayed for a while to support Lalit as Delhi finished with 452. In reply, Tamil Nadu were 75/2 at stumps.

Meanwhile, Sarfaraz Khan’s superb innings of 275 put Mumbai in a strong position in their game against Saurashtra. Starting the day at 263/3, Ajinkya Rahane and Sarfaraz extended their partnership to 252 before the former was dismissed by Chirag Jani.

Sarfaraz, who was on 121 at the start of the day, was involved in a 118-run stand for the seventh wicket with Tanush Kotian (50 not out) before falling 25 short of a triple ton. Mumbai declared their innings at 544/7 and in reply Gujarat were 18/0.

On the other hand, Pavan Shah’s 219 and useful contributions from the lower order helped Maharashtra post 415 against Assam. Maharashtra started the day at 278/5 with Pavan not out on 165. The 22-year-old opener, making his debut, went on to notch up a double hundred, with No 8 Satyajeet Bachhav (52) giving him good support. Assam ended the day at 81/2, trailing by 334 runs.

Prabhsimran Singh (123) and Abhishek Sharma (98) were the stars for Punjab on Day 2 as they posted 393/4 after restricting Himachal Pradesh to 354. Himachal, who started the day at 324/6, could only add 30 runs to their overnight total as Baltej Singh ‘s five-wicket haul helped keep the tail quiet.

Prabhsimran and Abhishek then put on a 182-run opening stand to provide a solid platform. Mandeep Singh’s unbeaten 62, along with useful knocks from Anmolpreet Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann, ensured the advantage remained with Punjab.

In another match of the day, a 213-run opening stand between Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Raghunath helped Vidarbha reply strongly after Uttar Pradesh were restricted to 301. UP started the day at 268/7 and could add only 34 as Aditya Sarwate bagged a fifer. Fazal (142 not out) and Raghunath (96) provided a strong start with their double-century stand, helping Vidarbha end the day at 256/2.

On a day where many batters achieved historic milestones, there were some top bowling performances as well.

Aniket Choudhary’s four-wicket haul against Andhra helped Rajasthan stage a strong fightback on Day 2 and gain the upperhand. Although they were bowled out for 275 on Day 1, Rajasthan came back well with the ball to restrict Andhra to 224 and gain the first-innings lead.

Choudhary dismissed three of the top four while Shubham Sharma and Tanveer Ul-Haq also got amongst the wickets, sharing five scalps between them. Rajasthan ended the day at 97/2, leading by 148 runs.

In another match of the day, Atit Sheth’s five-wicket haul powered Baroda’s comeback against Bengal on Day 2. Bengal started the day at 24/1 having restricted Baroda to 181 on the opening day. But Seth’s fine bowling, well-backed by Lukman Meriwala’s three wickets, helped Baroda shoot down Bengal for 88. Baroda went into stumps at 144/5, leading by 237 runs.

Meanwhile, Arzan Nagwaswalla’s five wicket haul helped Gujarat restrict Madhya Pradesh to 274 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. Gujarat were 244/6 in reply, with Priyank Panchal, Het Patel and Manprit Juneja scoring half-centuries while Ishwar Pandey bagged three wickets.

On the other hand, Sushant Mishra’s fifer restricted Chhattisgarh to 174 after they started the day at 135/4 in reply to Jharkhand’s first innings total of 169. However, his efforts were negated by a fine bowling show from Chhattisgarh as Sumit Ruikar bagged four wickets while Ravi Kiran and Ajay Mandal picked up three apiece to bowl out Jharkhand for 133 in the second innings.

Needing 129 for victory, Chhattisgarh were well-placed at 62/2 at stumps.

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