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When an injured Sanju Samson did a Graeme Smith in the Ranji Trophy

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The Krishnagiri Stadium in Wayanad witnessed a rare spectacle in the 2018/19 Ranji Trophy when an injured Sanju Samson walked out to bat against Gujarat in the quarter-finals to give Kerala some useful runs.

On a green top, bowlers had wreaked havoc and the mayhem had seen three innings fold by the end of day two. Kerala had been bowled out for 185 in the first innings, but a bigger blow was landed by Gujarat pacer and current India recruit, Arzan Nagwaswalla. The left-arm seamer made one jump off the surface which rapped Sanju Samson on his right ring finger.

The Kerala batsman had to retire hurt as a result of the blow and the scans showed a fracture to his finger. Samson’s role in the game seemed to be over. Little did anyone know that he would walk out the next day to bat again.

Basil Thampi and Sandeep Warrier, deadly with the new ball, destroyed the Gujarat top-order as they folded for 162. With a marginal lead in the first innings and a clear idea of how the pitch would behave the rest of the game, Kerala came out to bat again to try and set a daunting enough total.

Jalaj Saxena and Sijomon Joseph played handy knocks with the former remaining unbeaten when the ninth wicket fell with Kerala on 163, the lead 186 at the time.

In a heroic act, Samson came out to bat with his fractured finger, holding the bat with just one hand, reminiscent of South Africa skipper Graeme Smith’s famous act in Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Samson played out nine balls, helping Kerala add eight runs for the last wicket with Saxena. Samson seemed ready to hang around for longer, but the umpire had other ideas. He was given out leg before wicket after an Axar Patel delivery smashed into his pads, but the batsman had an inside edge the umpire failed to detect.

It did not matter in the end as Kerala, inspired by another Thampi-Warrier act – the duo shared nine wickets between them in the second innings – bowled Gujarat out for 81 to make their first-ever entry into the Ranji Trophy semi-final.

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