Hanuma Vihari made the headlines with a triple-century against Odisha. © Wisden India

Hanuma Vihari made the headlines with a triple-century against Odisha. © Wisden India

Another round of matches, and a further rise in number of results. The Ranji Trophy 2017-18, which started off with only three outright wins in its first week, seems to have gathered pace, witnessing as many as nine victories and just three draws in the third round of the competition which ended on Friday (October 27).

While Hanuma Vihari made the headlines with a triple-century against Odisha, Jiwanjot Singh and Amandeep Khare scored double-tons to make sure the run charts in the tournament kept shuffling.

Big centuries have been the hallmark of this season so far. While the three batsmen shot up to feature in the top-five of the highest individual scorers’ list so far, only two other candidates – B Indrajith (152) and Shreyas Iyer (138), incidentally from the same match (Mumbai v Tamil Nadu in Mumbai) – notched up big centuries this week for a place in the top 20.

In the bowling department, Maharashtra’s Chirag Khurana bagged 12 for 184 in their match against Uttar Pradesh to register the best match figures this year, but he was closely followed by other impressive performances, from Saurabh Kumar (11 for 215 for Uttar Pradesh v Maharashtra), Gurvinder Singh (10 for 110 for Himachal Pradesh v Services) and Jalaj Saxena (10 for 147 for Kerala v Rajasthan).

We will get to more statistical feats in just a bit, but first, a look at the lead up to the action.

The buildup to Round Three

The results

RailwaysPunjab and Gujarat bagged victories by an innings while Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh picked up 10-wicket victories.

Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra were victorious too, with only three matches – Mumbai v Tamil Nadu, Vidarbha v Chhattisgarh and Andhra v Odisha – ending in draws.

The numbers that mattered

Hanuma Vihari’s entry to the 300 club
Odisha’s bowlers had no answers to Vihari‘s unbeaten knock of 302 at Dr. PVG Raju ACA Sports Complex in Vizianagaram. It was the first time Vihari had scripted a triple-century, which was the 49th 300-plus score in Indian first-class cricket overall. He got to the milestone on the second day of the contest in Virender Sehwagesque style, tonking the ball over the ropes for a six.

Vihari became the second player to score a triple-century for Andhra after Srikar Bharat, who achieved the feat in 2014-15 against Goa in Ongole.

Vihari had the support from Prasath Kumar (127) and Ricky Bhui (100) as Andhra posted 584 for 5 before declaring. It was only the third time three centuries were scored by Andhra batsmen in an innings.

[Previous occasions: v Tamil Nadu, 1985-86 and v Baroda, 2015-16. Interestingly, Vizianagram is the where all three of these games were played.]

Amandeep Khare, Chattisgarh’s pioneer
Khare is only 20 years of age, and in the 13 first-class appearances so far, he already has four centuries and three half centuries. Against Vidarbha this week, with a knock of 210, he became the first Chhattisgarh batsman in history to score a double ton.

The third-wicket stand of 227 between Khare and Ashutosh Singh was Chhattisgarh’s first double-century partnership.

Jiwanjot’s triple double

Jiwanjot Singh‘s 238 against Goa in Porvorim helped Punjab grab their first win of the season. It was the third double-century for Jiwanjot in his 60-match career, making him the third Punjab player with as many double-centuries in the Ranji Trophy.

Unique feat for Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw has had a magical start to his first-class career. © Wisden India

Prithvi Shaw has had a magical start to his first-class career. © Wisden India

Prithvi Shaw has had a magical start to his first-class career. In the four matches he has played so far, he has hit three tons and a half-century. This week, he hit 123 in Mumbai’s first innings against Tamil Nadu to help his side post 374. Turns out he is now part of an exclusive club.

Most hundreds in Indian first-class cricket before turning 18:
8 – Sachin Tendulkar
4 – Ambati Rayudu
3 – Ankit Bawne, Prithvi Shaw

With Shaw’s 18th birthday coming up on November 9, he has a chance to better the record in the fourth round, when Mumbai meet Odisha in Bhubaneshwar.

Jalaj Saxena’s all-round effort

Jalaj Saxena has been a brilliant addition to the Kerala side, which registered its second win in three games this week. Saxena’s performance against Rajasthan was fantastic. He scored 79 and an unbeaten 105 while bagging 10 for 147 (8/85 and 2/62) with his off-spin.

In Ranji Trophy history, it was the highest tally of runs scored by a player who had taken ten or more wickets in a match. The top-three list looks like this:

184 – Jalaj Saxena
183 – Yusuf Pathan, 2007/08
179 – Peter Bullock, 1951/52

Saxena also became the second Kerala player after KN Ananthapadmanabhan with a century and a five-wicket haul in a Ranji Trophy game. Ananthapadmanabhan had scored 200 and took 6 for 99 against Odisha in 1996-97.

Other mentions
Piyush Chawla, with his scalps of 5 for 92 and 4 for 38 for Gujarat v Jammu and Kashmir, went past 400 wickets in his first-class career.

Saurabh Wakaskar (80), Shivakant Shukla (86), Nitin Bhille (89), Arindam Ghosh (109) and Ashish Yadav (50) helped Railways declare on 483 for 7 against Assam in Guwahati.

The last time Railways had five fifty-plus scores (includes 100s) in one innings was against Rajasthan in 2011-12. Overall, this was the seventh time such a feat was achieved.

Yomahesh’s prolific comeback

Yomahesh made a comeback to Tamil Nadu’s Ranji Trophy side after a long hiatus. His previous appearance, before suffering a knee injury, was against Haryana in December 2012.

With Tamil Nadu in a tricky position and in danger of missing out on taking the first-innings lead against Mumbai, Yomahesh smashed an unbeaten 103 – his maiden first-class ton – from No. 9. The knock helped Tamil Nadu pick up a lead of 76 runs, which ensured three points for them from the contest. Earlier, he had picked up two wickets in the first innings – of Akhil Herwadkar and Surya Kumar Yadav, both of whom he had trapped leg before wicket.

“It was definitely a tough phase for me, missing four years of a good time of my career,” 
he told reporters after the knock. “But I would like to take the positives out of it. I learnt a lot. Both in my cricket as well as in my personal life. It was a long journey, but it was a great teaching lesson for me.”

Debut for Shimoga

The Karnataka v Hyderabad match at KSCA Navule Stadium in Shimoga was the first Ranji Trophy match hosted at the venue.

Why, Venugopal Rao?

Andhra are set to miss the services of Y Venugopal Rao for rest of the season, with the veteran announcing he will play no further part in the Ranji Trophy due to personal reasons.

“The absence of Mr. Y. Venugopala Rao will be felt by the team, but we have to respect the feelings of the player who was former captain of Andhra Ranji Team and India International,”
 Ch. Arun Kumar, the general secretary of Andhra Cricket Association, said.

The returning men

M Vijay, who suffered an ankle injury and then, from a stiff neck, returned to Tamil Nadu’s playing XI alongside Vijay Shankar and B Aparajith.

KL Rahul and Karun Nair returned to Karnataka, while Umesh Yadav and Karn Sharma were named in Vidarbha’s playing XI.

Debutants

Team Player
Odisha Subham Nayak, offspinner
Haryana Ajit Chahal, right-arm pacer
Services Nitin Tanwar, offspinner
Maharashtra Jagdish Zope, left-arm spinner
Uttar Pradesh Vineet Panwar, right-arm pacer

Social Media Watch

Suresh Raina made his 100th first-class appearance

An #OnThisDay moment from October 27…

In other news…

Trendsetters

Highest match aggregate
in Round 3: 1195 (Mumbai v Tamil Nadu in Mumbai)
Overall: 1475 (Himachal Pradesh v Punjab in Dharamshala)
Highest innings total:
in Round 3: Punjab – 635 (v Goa)
Overall: Himachal Pradesh – 729 for 8 declared (v Punjab)
Highest run-getter:
in Round 3: Hanuma Vihari (Andhra) – 302 runs
Overall: Hanuma Vihari (Andhra) – 468 runs in 3 matches
Highest individual score:
in Round 3: 302 not out (Hanuma Vihari, for Andhra v Odisha)
Overall: 338 (Prashant Chopra, for Himachal Pradesh v Punjab)
Highest wicket-taker:
in Round 3: Chirag Khurana (Maharashtra) – 12 wickets
Overall: Jalaj Saxena (Kerala) – 26 wickets in 3 matches
Best bowling figures in an innings:
in Round 3: 8 for 85 (Jalaj Saxena, for Kerala v Rajasthan)
Overall: 8 for 85 (Jalaj Saxena, for Kerala v Rajasthan)
Best bowling figures in a match:
in Round 3: 12 for 184 (Chirag Khurana, for Maharashtra v Uttar Pradesh)
Overall: 12 for 184 (Chirag Khurana, for Maharashtra v Uttar Pradesh)
Most dismissals by a wicketkeeper:
in Round 3: 6 (Mahesh Rawat, for Railways v Assam)
Overall: Srikar Bharat (Andhra) – 13 in 3 matches
Highest partnership:
in Round 3: 270 (for the second wicket between Hanuma Vihari and Prasanth Kumar, for Andhra v Odisha)
Overall: 308 (Hanuma Vihari and Ricky Bhui, for Andhra v Baroda)
Total debutants this season so far: 36

Total bonus-point wins: 5
Total three-day finishes: 2
Total two-day finishes: 0

Also Read:
Ranji Digest, Round 2