Rest of India lost the plot on Day I of the Irani Cup against Saurashtra in Rajkot.
At the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday, Rest of India were strongly placed at 138/1 after winning the toss and opting to bat first, but kept losing wickets thereafter to finish at 298/8 at stumps.
For Saurashtra, left-arm orthodox Parth Bhut took 4/85 to peg Rest of India back. Fellow left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and off-spinner Yuvrajsinh Dodiya struch twice each, while opener Sai Sudharsan top-scored for Rest of India with 72.
The Rajkot pitch is usually flat and excellent for batting on Day I, and Rest of India openers Sudharsan and Mayank Agarwal forged a 69-run stand to get them off to a solid start. Following Mayank’s dismissal off Jadeja, Sudharsan and captain Hanuma Vihari (33) propelled Rest of India further with another 69-run stand for the second wicket.
Just when it mattered, Bhut stood up for the reigning Ranji Trophy champions, dismissing both Vihari and Sudharsan in quick succession which reduced Rest of India to 161/3. Rest of India soon found themselves at 183 with half their side gone as Sarfaraz Khan and Yash Dhull too departed quickly.
For Sarfaraz, this was another opportunity lost in terms of making a mark before the national selectors. The Mumbai batsman had failed to impress in the Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy as well, with 48 being his highest score in his eight innings since July.
Brief scores: Rest of India 298/8 (S. Sudharsan 72; P. Bhut 4/85) vs Saurashtra. At stumps, Day I.