An unbeaten half-century from senior batsman Sheldon Jackson helped Saurashtra end day one of the first semi-final of the 2019-20 Ranji season with their noses in front of Gujarat. Medium-pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla impressed with three wickets, while left-arm spinner Axar Patel bagged the other two.
Brief scores:Saurashtra 217/5 in 90 overs (Sheldon Jackson 69*; Kishan Parmar 37; Arzan Nagwaswalla 3-40) vs Gujarat
As Jackson walked off with the Chirag Jani at the end of play on the first day, there was a standing ovation given to the two batsmen from the hosts dressing room. The applause was more so for Jackson — whose unbeaten knock, which included nine fours and two sixes held the Saurashtra innings together — but at least some of it was directed towards the grit and determination shown by Jani at the other end. The all-rounder ate up 66 deliveries for his 16, playing his part in an unbroken 55-run stand to perfection. A topsy-turvy day of cricket but it came to close with the hosts edging ahead.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel won the toss and put Saurashtra in. Harvik Desai ended his consecutive run of ducks and opened the innings with a 62-run stand along with Kishan Parmar to set the tone up front. Gujarat bit back well in the second session removing Desai for 35 and No.3 Avi Barot for 27 in the space of four balls as the hosts slipped to 102 for three.
Jackson joined Vishvaraj Jadeja at the crease and revived the things with a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket. Parthiv brought Nagwaswalla — who removed Desai — back into the attack and the medium-pacer removed Jadeja for 26. Arpit Vasavada bagged a golden duck as the tide swung back in favour of Gujarat once again. Jackson, however, continued his merry way and in the company of Chirag Jani, took Saurashtra past the 200-run mark.