Resolute batting by openers saves day for Jharkhand

A brilliant century by Akash Verma and 94-run knock by Manish Vardhan ensured Jharkhand draw their Group C Ranji Trophy match against Himachal Pradesh on the fourth and final day here today.

But it was Himachal who ran away with three points on the basis of their first innings lead, while Jharkhand had to settle for just one point.

In reply to Jharkhand's first innings total of 236, Himachal scored a huge 442 for seven declared, which left the hosts to overcome 206 runs to avoid innings defeat.

When stumps were drawn on the final day today, Jharkhand were 244 for two in their second innings with Deepak Chougule unbeaten on 20.

Resuming at 27 for no loss with 179 runs more to be scored on the entire day to save innings defeat, Jharkhand adopted a cautious approach.

The two overnight batsmen -- openers Verma and Vardhan,resuming on 18 and seven, respectively -- played with a lot of responsibility and eventually overtook Himachal's lead with their fluent strokes.

The duo put on a strong 195-run stand for the opening wicket with Verma hitting a 230-ball 117 (17x4, 1x6) and Vardhan's knock coming off 277 balls, laced with 11 fours.

Both the batsmen fell to Gurvinder Singh, who ended with figures of 2 for 86.

Brief scores:

Jharkhand: 236 and 244 for 2 in 91.3 overs (Akash Verma 117, Manish Vardhan 94; Gurvinder Singh 2/86).

Himachal: 442 for 7 decl (Prashant Chopra 101, Rishidhavan 128; S S Rao 3/85).

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