saurashtra 98 and 368 for 8 (Unadkat 78*, Bhut 6*, Saurabh 3-80, Sen 3-85) lead Rest of India 374 (Sarfaraz 138, Vihari 82, Saurabh 55, Sakariya 5-93) with 92 runs
Saurashtra’s middle and lower leagues showed a lot of struggle, adding 281 runs to their lower leagues, but the rest of India remained the big favorite to win the Irani Cup.
On the third day, Saurashtra reached 368 for 8, riding a half-century of the quartet made up of Sheldon Jackson (71), Arpit Vasavada (55), Prerak Mankad (72) and Captain Jaydev Unadkat (78 not out).
The overall lead is now 92 runs and Saurashtra will be happy to extend it to at least 175 to make it a game.
Trailing 276 runs, Saurashtra stared at an inning loss after being reduced to 87 for 5 before lunch.
However, Jackson and Vasavada, who have saved Saurashtra many times in the past, added 117 runs for the sixth wicket to keep the ship steady.
But it was the 144-run eighth wicket score between Unadkat and all-rounder Mankad that sparked visions – as improbable as it may seem at the moment – of committing a robbery.
Not only did the duo stand for a century, but they also scored the runs with a quick clip – in just 29.3 overs – to keep the game alive.
If it was Jackson who returned the charge to the opposition by repeatedly stepping towards left arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (3 for 80 in 25 overs) to disrupt his length, the pair of Unadkat and Mankad used the extra pace of Kuldeep Sen (3 for 85 in 16 overs) and Umran Malik (0 for 59 in 16 overs) in their favour.
They hit six sixes from the bowling of Jackson, Vasavada and Unadkat.