Srinagar, February 17: Bowl first and bowl out opposition under a minimum possible score in first innings: this has been J&K’s mantra to success in Ranji Trophy for quite a while. This morning when new captain Ian Dev Singh won the toss, he must have been elated to put Pondicherry to bat first.
The Pondicherry openers, however, started firmly. They looked good until Umran Malik– playing his maiden first-class match for J&K– removed them both in a short space of time. From 48-0, they were reduced to 97-4 with spin-duo of Parvez Rasool and Abdul Samad taking a wicket each.
Things seemed to be well in J&K’s favour at lunch. But the smiles in J&K dressing room started fading away as soon as Paras Dogra and S Karthink started milking J&K bowlers after the lunch.
The duo stitched a huge partnership of 152 runs. They kept the scoring rate going to put the pressure on J&K bowling. It was finally Abid Mushtaq who gave his team the much-needed breakthrough. The left-arm spinner got the big wicket of Paras Dogra after he made splendid 108 runs.
Not much later, Umran Malik scalped his third wicket by sending back another set batter S Karthik on 63. The things were yet to fall back in J&K’s favour when Fabid Ahmed decided to counter-attack.
He put on an unbeaten partnership of 54 runs in 65 balls with S Trivedi to make sure Pondicherry end the day one on a dominating note (309/6 in 90 overs).
J&K will, however, regret the moment when Umran Malik got rid of Paras Dogra– playing at the score 50– but it turned out to be a no-ball. He then went on to score a top hundred, helping Pondicherry get ahead of this match. Umran struggled throughout day despite taking three wickets. The quickie bowled as many as 8 no-balls in his 14 overs.
Now, for J&K to make a comeback into this game, they will need to restrict Pondicherry under the score of 350 and then bat throughout the day.