Ranji: Jalaj Saxena’s all-round skills put Kerala on top
Thiruvananthapuram: A superb all-round performance by Jalaj Saxena gave Kerala the upper hand on the third day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match against Rajasthan at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
Saxena, who hit a half century on the opening day, shone with the ball picking 8 wickets for 85 runs and gifted Kerala a vital first innings lead of 92 runs. In the second innings, he returned to hit a fluent century to guide Kerala to a strong positon as the guests ended the day at 217 for two.
Saxena is batting on 102 and Sanju V Samson on 72 when bad light stopped third day’s play. With one day remaining, Kerala now has an overall lead of 309 runs.
Resuming the penultimate day at 134-6, Rajasthan tail enders put up some resistance and the efforts from RK Bishnoi Sr (39), Dhillon (44) and Chahar (31) took them to 243, conceding first innings deficit of 92 runs.
Saxena returned with impressive figures of 8-85 whereas Nidheesh and Sijomon Joseph shared one wicket each.
Driven by the confidence of securing the crucial first innings lead, Kerala shifted gears in the second innings maintaining a run rate above four. Though Vishnu Vinod disappointed once again (8), Saxena carry forward the momentum in company of Rohan Prem (24) and Sanju V Samson. In the unbeaten third wicket stand, Saxena and Sanju has added 159 runs.