Panchal stands tall to keep West Zone on track in Duleep Trophy final

West Zone 146 and 182 for five (Panchal 92*, Sarfaraz 48, Koushik 3-28) want one other 116 runs to beat South Zone 213 and 230 (Vihari 42, Washington 37, Bhui 37, Jadeja 5-40)

Priyank Panchal is a cricket nerd, to the extent that when he was on a household vacation in Australia in the summertime, he took a detour to Bowral to have the ability to go to the Bradman museum. Then in England final month, whereas on tour to the Grey-Nicolls manufacturing unit – his bat sponsor – he stopped by to observe the World Check Championship [WTC] final at the Oval to soak within the expertise of presumably enjoying in a single.

Till final 12 months, Panchal was on the fringes of the nationwide group. He was picked as a reserve opener for the away tour of South Africa in late 2021, after which made the minimize for the house sequence against Sri Lanka in February 2022. He might’ve been reserve opener for the fifth Check in Birmingham in opposition to England final July however missed out attributable to a hernia.

Panchal hasn’t been within the combine since, and it could be, at 33, that point is working out. For now, it seems as if Yashasvi Jaiswalwho has leapfrogged Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran amongst others, will get an extended rope, as he ought to, having begun his Check profession with a sparkling 171 in Dominica. The place does that depart the likes of Panchal?

Properly, on the fringes however with the sensation of getting hit a brick wall as a result of while you stored churning large runs for India A, the highest order was packed. And when alternatives opened up, another person was most popular. Panchal would possibly effectively really feel aggrieved on the flip of occasions however there’s actually nothing he can do, besides hold churning out the runs.

On Sunday, he may have a possibility to ship the Duleep Trophy title for West Zone. They have their backs to the wall, however Panchal has made them imagine. He is unbeaten on 92 however, on a fifth-day monitor exhibiting indicators of wear and tear and tear on the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, there is a greater aim. South Zone want 5 wickets, West Zone 116 runs. And that they’ve these many to defend is due to some helpful contributions from Washington Sundar and Vyshak Vijaykumar who made 37 and 23 respectively to push the whole as much as 230.

Panchal’s three earlier innings within the season learn 11, 13 and 15. With the Ranji Trophy not beginning till January 2024, Panchal had one alternative, presumably two extra if he is picked within the Remainder of India squad for the Irani Cup in October, to additional reinforce his credentials for an India cap. Including to his problem was the truth that West Zone collapsed once more.

V Kaushikthe Karnataka seamer, had dealt three large blows. Prithvi Shaw was bowled, Cheteshwar Pujara performed with onerous fingers and was caught at bat-pad and Suryakumar Yadav was beautifully undone by late inswing that had him lbw. At 79 for 4, West Zone’s goal of 298 appeared distant.

However Panchal held agency and was unwavering in his focus. It was old style in some ways, specializing in crease occupation and grinding the bowlers down, after which making an attempt to money in after they erred. The one drawback was the bowlers hardly erred, and Panchal realised if he did not change issues up he would possibly find yourself bowled by a grubber. So he started to look extra actively for these singles and twos and as soon as he flicked that swap he began hitting even the nice balls to the boundary.

Panchal dazzled with a sequence of straight drives. He went previous a half-century off 128 balls, obtained previous 8000 first-class runs however neither landmark elicited an enormous response. He knew there was a job to do, and no matter who was watching or what number of there have been, Panchal put his head down and carried on as if nothing was going to shake him.

On the different finish, Panchal had sarfaraz khan for firm. A batter whose exclusion from the Check aspect has elicited widespread debate on the worth of runs in home cricket. Sarfaraz has finished the onerous yards, scored runs in numerous situations and stored his kind up for 3 full home seasons, however his India A file has been modest. Past the runs, there’s an obvious weak point in opposition to the quick ball. And he acquired loads of that within the ultimate session.

Sarfaraz was even hit on the helmet as soon as, which introduced the physio out to test for concussion. Sarfaraz’s points stem from his preliminary set off motion in the direction of leg as he tries to weave out of the best way, no matter the bounce.

Reprieved on 2 when Sachin Child missed a run out from cowl – his underarm throw going over the wicketkeeper with the batter nowhere close to the crease – Sarfaraz chanced himself in opposition to spin, sweeping Washington Sundar from the tough and slogging with the spin into the leg aspect.

The plan was working. The goal was being whittled down, till Sarfaraz obtained too near the pitch of a Sai Kishore supply and noticed his leg stump knocked again as he tried to flick in opposition to the flip. It was an enormous second within the recreation. Three balls later, the sunshine meters had been out and Panchal, who obtained into the 90s with a uppish drive over gully, breathed a sigh of reduction together with Atit Sheth.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Revealed : 2023-07-15 13:22:44

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