Irani Cup Highlights: Vidarbha vs Rest of India, Day Four

Batting contributions from Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer were the highlight of what was a fruitful day for Rest of India. Vidarbha needs 243 more runs to win, with nine wickets in hand.

Hanuma Vihari scored an unbeaten 180 in the second innings. Photo: PTI

STUMPS, DAY FOUR: Vidarbha 425 and 37 for 1 needs 243 more runs to beat Rest of India 330 and 374 for 3 (Hanuma Vihari 180 n.o., Ajinkya Rahane 87, Shreyas Iyer 61 n.o.).

 

4.47 pm: Taide calmly sees off the last over of the day, bowled by Jadeja. At stumps, Vidarbha is 37 for 1 in 16 overs. It needs another 243 runs to win on Day Five.

The Ranji Trophy champion can win the contest on the morrow, but whatever happens, it cannot take away the delight of a solid batting performance by Rest of India on Day Four. Hanuma Vihari was the star, scoring his second century in three days, and there were significant contributions — half-centuries — from the staid and serene Ajinkya Rahane, and the aggressive and stylish Shreyas Iyer. The side could have looked to take the lead past 300, but declared with the lead at 279. Perhaps Rahane wished to give his bowlers enough time to bowl the opposition out and hoped to exploit the fact that tired batsmen would come in to bat after a long day in the field.

As it turned out, Rest of India had immediate success with the ball, Rajpoot dismissing Faiz Fazal with an accurate delivery that hit the top of off-stump.

Both teams are well in the contest, still. And it will most likely provide a result, thanks to Rahane's early declaration. In the unlikely scenario of a drawn contest, Vidarbha will be the winner due to its first-innings lead.

Much to look forward to, on Saturday, for the conclusion. Join us then, at 9.15 am. Till then, it's goodbye.

4.46 pm: Some nervous moments for both batsmen in the latest over bowled by Chahar, the fourth of his spell. First, Taide comes forward to smother a delivery that jumps past the bat; the wicketkeeper spills it, but it wasn't a chance, although it was close.

Later in the over, Sanjay pushes the ball to leg and the forward short-leg isn't able to snaffle the difficult chance; it hits his hands and goes away from his reach, all in a second.

4.36 pm: Taide defends off the front foot, defends off the back-foot, and leaves alone deliveries in the 13th over of the innings, bowled by Chahar. The final ball of the over is a wayward one. The ball pitches on middle-stump and spins away past the batsman and the wicketkeeper on the leg-side for four byes.

4.30 pm: Rahul Chahar, the leg-spinner who took four wickets in the first innings, bowls a relatively uneventful over. In the next over bowled by Jadeja, Sanjay collects the third boundary of his innings. He shapes up for the sweep and before allowing the ball to pitch, helps it on its way to fine leg.

4.21 pm: Two overs safely negotiate by the batsmen. They have understandably adopted a risk free, defensive approach. Jadeja is getting good turn for his deliveries; one of then spin pasts the bat of Sanjay.

4.13 pm: Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, the left-arm spinner, comes on to bowl. Off a delivery that pitches outside the off-stump line and hits Taide, the left-hand batsman, outside the line, there is an appeal for leg-before-wicket. It's more of a query than an appeal and the umpire shakes his immediately.

4.10 pm: A single taken from Rajpoot's third over. Rest of the deliveries are defended calmly by the batsmen. It's 18 for 1.

3.59 pm: R. Sanjay manages to get another boundary. He flicks the ball bowled by Rajpoot to square leg; it was an inside edge. Earlier, the diminutive opener got off the mark with a sweetly struck off-drive; resting his right knee to the ground, he leaned into the drive for a boundary. Tanveer-ul-Haq, the left-arm seamer, was the bowler.

3.51 pm: Atharva Taide, the new batsman, gets off the mark with a four through third man. It was an outside edge.

3.48 pm: Welcome back. A wicket without a run on the board. Ankit Rajpoot bowls an accurate delivery on the off-stump line; the ball pitches on a good length, and beats the defences of Faiz Fazal to hit the top of off-stump. Did it swing? Wasn't clear, but Fazal was beaten, perhaps also because of the pace of the ball. 0 for 1 Vidarbha.

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END OF INNINGS: Rest of India 374 for 3 dec. (Hanuma Vihari 180 n.o., Ajinkya Rahane 87, Shreyas Iyer 61 n.o.)

 

3.34 pm: And after that over from Sarwate, Rest of India declares the innings closed, with a lead of 279. Vihari remains not-out on 180.

3.30 pm: An outrageous stroke from Iyer. The ball from Sarwate pitches considerably wide of leg-stump, and Iyer waits in his crease for leverage and pulls it to fine leg for six. The ball gains a lot of height and settles in the stands.

3.27 pm: Yet another costly over, this time from Yash Thakur. Sixty four runs have been scored in six overs since tea. Vihari, this time, with the aggressive strokes. First, he climbs on to a loose delivery — a short and wide one — for a four through point. Then, he pushes back in his crease and puts one knee down to loft the ball for six through extra cover.

3.21 pm: Vihari matches his partner in aggression. He comes down the track once again and lofts the ball straight over the bowler's head for six. At the end of another costly over from Sarwate, Rest of India is 349 for 3, the lead is 258.

3.18 pm: Iyer is in his element, he's enjoying himself in the middle. The team is surely looking for quick runs, and there is another costly over, this time from left-arm spinner Karnewar. He races to his half-century with a four through midwicket, clearing his front leg to a ball pitched on the leg-stump line. Earlier, he played a panache-laden stroke for six, running down the track and lofting it to leg using his wrist to clear the fielder positioned at the deep square leg boundary.

3.13 pm: Sarwate resumes bowling his outside-the-leg-stump line. Yet, six runs come from the over, thanks to four singles and a two taken by the batsmen.

3.10 pm: He finishes the over with a cut shot that races to the point boundary. The ball was short and wide, and Iyer took full toll of it.

3.08 pm: And one more, from Iyer. This time off Gurbani. The ball was in his zone, overpitched. He just swings his arms like a golfer to get his second six, straight down the ground. He has raced to 33.

3.05 pm: Welcome back. Belligerence straightaway from Rest of India after the break. First, Iyer lofts Sarwate to long-on for a boundary; it goes beyond the ropes after a bounce, perhaps because the batsman hadn't got the shot from the middle of his bat. It seemed to have turned in his hand a little, but made little difference in the result.

Then, he comes down the pitch to the bowler and deposits the ball beyond the sightscreen in front of him for a six.

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TEA: Rest of India 330 and 298 for 3 (Hanuma Vihari 153 n.o., Ajinkya Rahane 87) leads Vidarbha 425 by 203 runs.

 

2.42 pm: It's tea, at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. The lead is 203. It's 298 for 3 in 100 overs.

2.36 pm: Vihari reaches his 150 with a slice through cover for a couple. It was a full toss from Rajneesh Gurbani, and he had no difficulty in putting it away. Later in the over, Iyer executes a back-foot punch for four through cover.

2.20 pm: A brief interruption in the proceedings as umpire C. K. Nandan receives some medical attention after being hit on the back of the head by a throw from a fielder. He assures all present he is fine, and after a brief chat with the match referee, who arrives at the ground to ascertain everything is all right, Nandan goes back and resumes his work with a smile.

It was a throw from the deep towards the bowlers' end. The ball travelled in a parabola and while descending, hit the back of the head of Nandan.

2.07 pm: Off the third ball of his innings, Shreyas Iyer, the new batsman, plays a fierce cut to collect his first boundary.

2.00 pm: The new ball brings about a breakthrough, at long last, for Vidarbha. Rahane skips down the track to Sarwate to play an attacking stroke, but the ball turns away from the rough and evades the batsman. The wicketkeeper does the rest.

In the delivery before this, Rahane had tried to play a drive, from the crease, and had missed it. Having dragged his back-foot outside the crease while trying to hit, he dragged it back in time. He departs for 87.

 

1.55 pm: Vihari hits yet another four, the 18th of his innings, by shuffling towards the off-side and driving through extra-cover for a boundary. The bowler is right-arm seamer Yash Thakur. At the end of this over, Vidarbha decides to take the new ball.

1.39 pm: Another four to Vihari. This time, he plays an on-drive off the front-foot, using his wrists to find the placement. The ball evades the diving mid-on fielder and runs to the boundary. Vihari moves on to 137.

1.35 pm: Vihari turns it on now. He goes down the pitch once more and lofts the ball for a six down the ground, off Taide. He, then, tries to play the reverse-sweep; it isn't as neatly executed as the shot before, and the ball touches the edge of the bat, evades the wicketkeeper and the batsmen run two.

1.29 pm: Vihari turns a delivery to leg off the front-foot to take his team to 250. Karnewar the bowler. The new ball, due for a while now, hasn't been taken.

1.22 pm: Vihari pulls out the reverse-sweep once again and finds another four, through point. A single taken by the batsman in the next delivery takes the partnership to 200.

1.19 pm: Rahane tries to play the reverse-sweep, but the ball kicks off from the rough outside leg-stump, and evades the batsman and the wicketkeeper for what seemed four byes. But the umpire makes no such signal, so it's runs.

1.13 pm: Rahane is into his 80s now, with back-to-back boundaries. Instead of the bowler unsettling him, he has unsettled the bowler. First, Sarwate bowls a delivery that pitches, as usual outside leg-stump; Rahane, ready for it, steps down the track to get to the pitch of the ball and play a lofted stroke to deep midwicket for a boundary. The ball bounces once inside the rope. The fielder at the boundary is stationed, as a reaction to the stroke.

But the next delivery is a short, quick one that pitches on the leg-stump line and spins away. Getting the width he needs, Rahane cuts nicely to collect a four through cover.

1.03 pm: Receiving yet another delivery that pitches outside the leg-stump and turns into him, Vihari goes on to the back-foot and turns the ball firmly to leg, bisecting the midwicket and mid-on fielders perfectly to collect a boundary. A lot of wrist in that stroke, as he had to find the gap. Sarwate was the bowler. Vihari moves on to 111.

12.50 pm: Vihari nearly falls into trouble trying to sweep. The ball pitched outside the leg-stump; the batsman was early into his sweep shot, and he gets a top edge that falls short of the fielder waiting for the opportunity at short fine-leg.

12.46 pm: Karnewar adopts the same strategy, bowling to Rahane. However, he manages to surprise the batsman with a yorker-length delivery that Rahane wanted to sweep. He shaped up for that shot, but realising the ball was too full for it, adjusted at the last minute, defending it unassuredly. He lets out a smile, as does Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal, at slip.

12.43 pm: Welcome back. Sarwate resumes bowling his negative, outside-the-leg-stump line, perhaps to frustrate the batsmen. Vihari calmly thrusts his left foot out, or lets it go alone.

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LUNCH: Rest of India 330 and 212 for 2 (Hanuma Vihari 101 n.o., Ajinkya Rahane 74 n.o.) leads Vidarbha 425 by 117 runs.

12.01 pm: Rahane defends calmly in the maiden over bowled by Taide, to see Rest of India through to lunch. The side hasn't lost a wicket in the session, and the partnership has ballooned to 166. More assuringly, Vihari and Rahane have been an ease at the crease, and have confidently made their strokes off the spinners.

One hundred and ten runs have been scored in the session. It's 212 for 2 at lunch, the lead is 117.

11.57 am: Vihari soaks in the claps for what has been a classy century. He reaches the landmark in style; going down the pitch and hitting Wakhare for a boundary straight down the ground. He has played strokes all around the ground, used the crease well, made deft touches as well as strong biffs. It is his third century in the Irani Cup.

11.54 am: Mohit Kale leaves the field after being hit on the leg by the ball when Rahane played a fierce pull stroke.

11.44 am: A late cut this time, off spinner Atharva Taide, brings Vihari his 13th boundary. It takes him to 97.

11.35 am: Vihari shows enterprise and skill to provide good entertainment in Sarwate's 24th over. First, he plays the slog sweep to midwicket for a boundary which takes the partnership to 150, and then, brings out the reverse-sweep to collect another four, this time through point. This stroke takes the team total to 200.

Sarwate has resorted to bowling at the rough outside leg-stump — a negative line of bowling; Vihari leaves alone the rest of the deliveries or thrusts his left foot forward.

Earlier, Vihari came down the track and managed to evade the fielder at extra cover — R. Sanjay. The ball managed to go over his head.

11.27 am: Rahane lets out a smile after managing to keep out a delivery from hitting the stumps. He goes on to the back-foot to defend a delivery from Sarwate, but the ball stayed very low. He adjusts in time to put bat on it.

11.24 am: Change of bowling. R. Sanjay comes on to bowl his off-spinners. He greets Rahane with a short delivery, and, like Vihari in the previous over, Rahane plays a back-foot drive to collect a boundary through cover. He moves on to 69 by the end of the over; four more runs came off it.

11.19 am: Vihari gets a short delivery outside off-stump, and he climbs on it, punching it off the back-foot for his 10th four. Karnewar the bowler. The lead is 83 now.

11.08 am: Rahane skips down the track and chips the ball above the head of the leaping fielder at mid-on to collect a boundary. Later in the same over, bowled by Wakhare, Rahane is surprised by a quick, short delivery that jumps sharply at him. The ball touches the wicketkeeper's gloves, and the batsmen run a quick single.

11.06 am: Well-set the batsmen may be, but a good ball can unsettle them at any time. Karnewar gets a delivery to pitch on a good-length, and spin away from the bat of Vihari.

11.01 am: Vihari plants his left foot outside off-stump and plays a fierce sweep shot. It goes to the boundary and he moves on to 71. Wakhare was the bowler.

10.49 am: Vihari receives a full toss from Karnewar, and plays a drive to collect a four through extra cover. There may not have been any run for it, however, if the ball had been fully stopped by the fielder at short extra-cover. Instead, the fielder misfields, deflecting the ball squarer; the fielder in the deep looks to cut off the ball at the boundary, but he misfields, too.

The next over, bowled by Wakhare, is negotiated well by Rahane. After the 56th over of the innings, it's drinks. Rest of India is 160 for 2, the lead is 65.

10.40 am: Vihari plays a lofted, inside-out stroke off left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar to collect a boundary through extra cover. He positioned himself well to make the stroke, shifting to the leg side before executing it. The ball was full, and he had no difficulty in putting it away. It takes the partnership to 106.

10.33 am: Rahane brings up his half-century with a deft tuck to leg for four. Known for his serene strokeplay, he is in his element here, having constructed a staid, well-paced innings.

10.17 am: Vihari shows it one more time, off Wakhare. He comes down the pitch, to the pitch of the ball, and plays an on-drive for a sweet boundary through mid-on. Then, he goes on to the back-foot to defend, and is nearly dismissed lbw; the ball struck his bat. If he had missed it, he was positioned quite adjacent to the stumps.

10.14 am: Sarwate bowls his 21st over, three runs coming from it. Both batsmen have used their feet well in dealing with the spinners, decisively moving forward or back for pushes or nudges, and the occasional skip down the track for a belligerent stroke.

10.10 am: A restrained shout for leg-before-wicket by Akshay Wakhare. The delivery pitched on the off-stump line, and sharply turned into Vihari, who had come forward for a prod. The ball struck his pad well below the knee-roll but perhaps it turned too much for the decision to be given.

10.02 am: Vihari tucks to leg to bring up his half-century. Six run staken from Yash Thakur's fourth over, all in the leg side, off gentle flicks. Rest of India 127 for 2, leads by 32.

9.42 am: Vihari skips down the track to play an aggressive drive down the ground off Sarwate for a boundary. However, his batting partner Ajinkya Rahane makes a more cautious start and survives a scare; he nearly chops on, defending a delivery from Yash Thakur coming in with the angle.

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A first-innings lead of 95 and then two early wickets gave Vidarbha the edge on what was a fruitful Day Three for the side at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur, before a revival begun from India batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari. On Day Four, the two — and the rest of the top order — will have the responsibility of ensuring a solid base for a big enough total to defend.

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Irani Cup contest. A reminder of the scenario — Rest of India, at 102 for 2, leads Vidarbha by seven runs in the second innings.

Rest of India 330 and 102 for 2 (Hanuma Vihari 40 n.o.) leads Vidarbha 425 (Akshay Karnewar 102, Akshay Wadkar 73, R. Sanjay 65, G. Satish 48, Rahul Chahar 4 for 112) by seven runs. (Report)