Jaipur: Rest of India completed a comfortable 404-run win against Rajasthan on the fifth day of the Irani Cup in Jaipur. Rajasthan began the day with all their wickets intact, but Rest of India - who, regardless of what happened on day five, would have won the match courtesy their 263-run first-innings lead - produced some fine deliveries in the morning session to get rid of the hosts' top order and set up the outright win.
Rajasthan's openers had a nervy start. In the second over of the day, Aakash Chopra edged Vinay Kumar but the ball fell short of second slip and, soon after, Vineet Saxena edged Varun Aaron for four. The near misses sent the pair into defensive mode and they played out five maidens. Just when they seemed to safely negotiated the early burst from the Rest of India and settled down - Saxena guided Umesh Yadav past point, while Chopra drove Aaron through the covers - when Pragyan Ojha struck. He got Chopra to drive at a flighted delivery and took the edge.
Captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar did not last long, edging a bouncy Yadav delivery that was angled into him to wicketkeeper Prathiv Patel. Rest of India struck twice in quick succession again before lunch, with Vinay bowling Saxena and Ojha trapping Robin Bist lbw, to take firm control of the game.
For a while, Rashmi Parida and Ashok Menaria looked like they would hold off Rest of India like they did in the first-innings. But the resistance was cut short when Menaria lost his composure for an instant and went after a short, wide ball from Yadav, only to offer Parthiv another catch. Rest of India continued to knock off the wickets in pairs, as Rahul Sharma - who did not have the best day, spraying the ball around a bit - had Rohit Jalani lbw for a duck. Sharma picked up a couple of wickets after that, though, as Parida holed out and Deepak Chahar missed only to have his off stump uprooted.
Madhur Khatri produced the only innings of note for Rajasthan, a boundary-studded 53. Khatri cut and pulled, and managed a few good-looking drives down the ground and through the covers, before edging to Abhinav Mukund at third slip, the ninth wicket to fall. Ojha wrapped up the match two overs later, as Sunil Mathur charged down the track, missed and was stumped to offer Ojha his fourth wicket, to go with his first-innings five-for. Shikhar Dhawan, Rest of India's opener who struck two blistering tons in the match, was named player of the match.