Deepak Hooda’s dream year continues.
The year saw him make his India debut in both the short formats and score runs aplenty for Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL. Now he has twin hundreds on his return to First Class cricket.
His second century of the match put Rajasthan in a strong position on the third day of the Ranji Trophy match against Kerala at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Worryingly for the visitors, Hooda will return to the middle on the final morning on Friday, batting on 106 (122b, 6×4, 3×6).
Rajasthan was 278 for five at stumps, a lead of 309. Hooda, who had scored 133 in the first innings, has so far put on 111 for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Kunal Rathore (48 batting, 3×4, 1×6).
Before that, another fine spell by Jalaj Saxena had put Rajasthan in trouble. The off-spinner removed opener Yash Kothari (24, 30b) and Mahipal Lomror off successive balls. In his following over he sent back Salman Khan to reduce Rajasthan to 49 for three. But, the other opener Abhijeet Tomar (68, 157b, 6×4) kept vigil until he was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Sijomon Joseph.
Earlier, Kerala, which had resumed its first innings at 268 for eight, was bowled out for 306, conceding a lead of 31. Left-arm seamer Aniket Choudhary took both the wickets to finish with five for 85, his 13th five-wicket haul.
Sachin Baby remained unbeaten on 139 (217b, 18×4).
Rajasthan — 1st Innings: 337.
Kerala — 1st Innings: P. Rahul b Aniket 10, Rohan Prem c Rathore b Aniket 18, Shoun Roger c Menaria b Aniket 0, Sachin Baby (not out) 139, Sanju Samson c Salman b Suthar 82, Akshay Chandran run out 5, Jalaj Saxena c sub (Shubham) b Nagarkoti 21, Sijomon Joseph c Nagarkoti b Suthar 10, Basil Thampi lbw b Suthar 0, F. Fanoos b Aniket 0, M.D. Nidheesh b Aniket 4; Extras (b-8, lb-9) 17; Total (in 82.5 overs): 306.
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-28, 3-31, 4-176, 5-194, 6-222, 7-264, 8-268, 9-292.
Rajasthan bowling: Aniket 20.5-1-85-5, Arafat 11-4-31-0, Nagarkoti 9-1-43-1, Suthar 25-2-87-3, Lomror 14-0-39-0, Tomar 3-2-4-0.
Rajasthan — 2nd Innings: Yash Kothari b Jalaj 24, Abhijeet Tomar lbw b Sijomon 68, Mahipal Lomror c Shoun b Jalaj 0, Salman Khan b Jalaj 0, Ashok Menaria c Rahul b Thampi 19, Deepak Hooda (batting) 106, Kunal Rathore (batting) 48; Extras (b-9, lb-3, w-1) 13; Total (for five wkts. in 76 overs): 278.
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-47, 3-49, 4-94, 5-167.
Kerala bowling: Thampi 6-0-27-1, Jalaj 22-2-79-3, Fanoos 15-2-49-0, Nidheesh 10-2-27-0, Sijomon 15-0-56-1, Akshay 7-0-24-0, Shoun 1-0-4-0.