Chetan Bist’s seventh first-class century the lone bright spark for Nagaland
Jharkhand 880 and 132 for 2 (Utkarsh 50*, Siddiqui 42, Jonathan 1-29) lead Nagaland 289 (Bist 122*, Mundhe 39, Nadeem 3-70) by 723 runs
Despite that big a lead, Jharkhand surprisingly opted to bat again during the second session of the fourth day’s play, eventually finishing 723 ahead at stumps with eight wickets remaining. Nazim Siddiqui dominated an opening stand of 63, hitting 42 of them. His partner Utkarsh Singh ended on 50*.
Siddiqui’s intent of getting quick runs was clear from the second over itself, as he found the boundary thrice off Chopise Hopongkyu: a pull off a short ball was followed by a gentle push to beat the point fielder, while a crunching drive between mid-off and cover finished the over. He eventually fell leg before wicket to Raja Swarnkar, before the Nagaland captain Rongsen Jonathan had Kumar Suraj caught for 31.
Earlier, Bist waged a lone battle for Nagaland. Having started the day on 46, he reached his half-century in the sixth over of the day. Bist had stands of 24, 25, 45 and 35 for the last four wickets, enough for him to reach his seventh first-class hundred. He used the sweep shot to good effect against left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, as he found boundaries as well kept the scoreboard ticking.
Bist also rode his luck on his way to the century. When on 85, his sweep off Nadeem landed between fine leg running forward and square leg running back. Then on 88, a top-edged pull just eluded fine leg.
Jharkhand are all but through to the quarter-finals of this season’s Ranji Trophy, having already taken a first-innings lead.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo