Kumar Kushagra’s elegant unbeaten 112 coupled with Virat Singh’s 107 steered Jharkhand to an imposing 402 for 5 on the first day of their Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal match against Nagaland on Saturday.
Nagaland skipper Rongsen Jonathan won the toss and asked the opposition to bat at the iconic Eden Gardens.
Jharkhand openers Utkarsh Singh (36) and Md Nazim (28) were unable to convert their starts into big scores as their side slipped to 64 for 2. While Utkarsh became right-arm medium pacer Srikant Munde’s first and only victim, Nazim was dismissed by Chopise Hopongkyu.
However, one-down Kumar Suraj (66; 11×4, 1×6) and skipper Saurabh Tiwary (29) revived Jharkhand innings with their 62-run-stand for the third wicket.
But when it looked like the duo would score big, Tiwary fell as Jharkhand lost their third wicket for 126.
In came Virat Singh, who took on the listless Nagaland attack with disdain.
First, he stitched a 60-run stand with Kumar Suraj and after the latter fell, he found an able partner in wicket-keeper Kumar Kushagra.
Singh and Kushagra toyed with the Nagaland attack and played shots at will. They upped the ante and while Singh hammered 13 boundaries in his 155-ball innings, Kushagra was the more aggressive one as he struck 16 boundaries and one six in his unbeaten knock so far.
The Singh and Kushagra duo added a staggering 175 runs in just 213 balls for the fifth wicket, which took the game away from the opposition team.
They made the Nagaland bowlers toil hard and ensured that their team was in a commanding position.
When Singh fell, Jharkhand had crossed the 350-run mark. When stumps were drawn, Kushagra had all-rounder Anukul Roy (21 not out) for company as the duo had added 41 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket.
Jharkhand: 402 for 5 (Kumar Kushagra 112 not out, Virat Singh 107; Shrikant Mundhe 1/30, Chopise Hopongkyu 1/38) against Nagaland.
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