“Saurashtra has played an important part in my comeback and success, and it was not difficult to make the decision for the final,” Unadkat told ESPNcricinfo after the first day of the Ranji Trophy final. “I had a chat with the India management, and they were also supportive of the decision. Playing a part in Saurashtra’s success is close to my heart.
“The green tinge on the pitch played a part in making the toss decision easier in a final,” Unadkat said. “But there were also skills at play from the other bowlers to get the early breakthroughs. We knew we had to maximise the early advantage in the surface because the pitch got flat as the day progressed. We knew that would happen, so it was crucial to get their big wickets while there was some moisture.
“My attacking plan to a right-hander has often been from around the stumps, especially when the ball is swinging. For a right-hand batter, ball moving away from around the stumps can be tricky.”
Unadkat said that DRS in domestic games is new for many of his players, and therefore erroneous calls are part of the learning process. “Given how the first innings ended, it isn’t a big concern now,” he said. “It is also not often that domestic cricketers are playing with DRS in action, so it is new to them too. It happens on the field sometimes, but the introduction of DRS in itself is a big positive.”
Match not over yet – Bengal captain Tiwary
Even though Bengal are on the back foot in their pursuit of a Ranji Trophy title for the first time since 1989-90, their captain Tiwary retains hope of taking a lead.
“The match is not over yet,” he told reporters. “There is still possibility that we bundle them out and take a lead. I say that because I feel the wicket tomorrow could be like today.
“We have already discussed the areas of improvement. It’s about eight-wicket taking balls and we must ensure to not leak runs tomorrow.”
Light fades quickly in the evenings in Kolkata so day matches here start half an hour early, which brings the bowlers into the game that little bit more. Bengal, whose lead now is a mere 93, are hoping to exploit that.
“Everyone had become quiet and their morale dropped after a few boundaries were hit,” Tiwary said. “So it was important to remind them that the match is far from over, and told them to bowl with dum [energy]. And you saw we got two wickets before stumps.
“Cricket is a muscle memory game, sometimes you are not in rhythm. If you release late, you bowl short, if you release early, you bowl half volleys. All season, this was the worst start from our bowlers, but it is fine. We hope to improve tomorrow.”
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx