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

Akshay Karnewar's maiden first-class century helped Vidarbha pull ahead in the first innings, on Day Three. At stumps, Rest of India led by seven runs, with eight wickets in hand.

Akshay Karnewar was a thorn in the flesh for Rest of India on Thursday morning. File Photo: Vivek Bendre

STUMPS, DAY THREE: 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.

 

4.34 pm: Vihari is vigilant in the final over of the day, bowled by Karnewar. He plays a solid forward defence to finish the over.

Thanks to his efforts as well as Rahane's, Rest of India remains very much in the contest. Despite a partnership of 56, however, the lead is just seven runs.

That's because Akshay Karnewar frustrated the side for much of the first half of the day. He played an attacking innings of 102 — his maiden first-class century — to help take the lead to 95.

The Rest of India top order has the responsibility of providing its bowling attack a total that can be defended. The morning session on Day Four will be important to ascertain whether Rahane & Co. can set the tone for the rest of the day for a bulky total. Catch us then, at 9.30 am. Till then, it's goodbye.

4.31 pm: Rahane, who has looked assured for the most part in his innings, survives a scare. Sarwate bowls an arm ball to which Rahane steps back to defend. It comes on too quickly for him, and he inside edges it. It narrowly misses the stumps.

4.27 pm: Karnewar shouts at the umpire for an appeal after the ball spins past Vihari's bat. Later in the over, Vihari steps back to defend a short-of-a-length delivery; if the ball had instead hit the pads, it would have been adjacent to the stumps.

4.24 pm: Rahane gently defends all the deliveries by Sarwate in the 32nd over.

4.16 pm: Vihari steps out of his crease and drives a delivery from Sarwate to extra-cover to take a couple of runs. It brings up the 50-partnership. A valuable alliance in the context of the contest. Rest of India is in the lead now. After 31 overs, it's 100 for 2. The lead is five.

4.13 pm: A half-shout from bowler Karnewar and his team-mates as his delivery spins past the bat of Rahane, who had come forward to play a defensive stroke.

4.08 pm: Vihari and Rahane are quietly accumulating runs to help Rest of India erase the deficit. At the end of the 28th over, an accurate one by Sarwate, it's 93 for 2. The deficit is two.

3.46 pm: A loud appeal by Karnewar for lbw. But the umpire is unmoved. It was a full delivery outside off-stump. Vihari tried to play a sweep but the ball struck his front pad. The impact was outside the off-stump, however. No damage done.

3.37 pm: An expensive over bowled by Sarwate. Vihari hits a boundary through fine leg, and later in the over, comes down the track to hit the ball down the ground for six.

3.29 pm: Rahane finds a full toss bowled at him by Sarwate; he duly puts it away for a boundary through deep midwicket, flicking it.

3.23 pm: Vihari drives and would have been caught out had a fielder been positioned at short cover instead of short mid-off. Sarwate is the bowler.

3.20 pm: A single taken by Vihari off Wakhare gets Rest of India to the 50-mark. Rahane, then, guides a short-of-a-length delivery through the gap between cover and point for two.

3.10 pm: Welcome back. Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare induces a leading edge off both batsmen. Vihari survives, as the ball falls in no-man's land on the off-side. It was a mild stroke; he was looking to turn the ball to leg. On the other hand, Agarwal rushes down the pitch and tries to hit a six down the ground. The edge, instead, carries to the fielder at long-off.

Ajinkya Rahane is the new batsman.

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AT TEA: Rest of India 330 and 25 for 1 trails Vidarbha 425 (Akshay Karnewar 102, R. Sanjay 65, Rahul Chahar 4 for 112) by 60 runs.

 

2.42 pm: It's tea, at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari have safely played the few remaining deliveries leading up to the break. It's 35 for 1, the deficit is 60.

2.29 pm: Breakthrough for Vidarbha. Anmolpreet comes down the track and lofts Sarwate straight to the fielder at long-on. He departs for 6. Rest of India 25 for 1.

2.20 pm: Sarwate nearly has his first wicket when Agarwal comes down the track and lofts the ball to mid-on. The ball narrowly evades the jumping fielder, and goes to the boundary.

2.14 pm: Another eventful over bowled by Sarwate. Anmolpreet Singh, the opener, drives him through extra-cover for a four; the ball touches the legs of the diving fielder at the ropes, and crosses over. Anmolpreet, then, gets a leading edge; the ball catches the shoulder of the bat, but the ball lands safely to a no-fielder zone.

2.02 pm: A costly first over to begin with, for Vidarbha. Aditya Sarwate, the left-arm spinner, gets a delivery to jump and turn away from the right-hand batsman — Mayank Agarwal — who misses it and the ball evades the slip fielder to run away to the boundary. Two more runs are scored in the same over.

1.48 pm: At long last, the innings ends. The change of bowling works; Ankit Rajpoot with the wicket. Yash Thakur plays all around a straight delivery that hits him under the knee roll. It's adjacent to the stumps, and the umpire quickly raises his finger.

It ends Rest of India's agony, after a lower-order fightback by Vidarbha. On Day Two, it was restricted to 168 for 5, before Akshay Wadkar, and then Akshay Karnewar, stole the show. It took the entire first half of the day for Rest of India to take the last four wickets.

Three missed chances in the slips didn't help, and neither did the numerous fours scored through third man. Chahar bamboozled the batsmen enough, however, to get his team the wickets. Perhaps it was fitting Rajpoot finished the innings, as he had bowled an accurate, testing spell in the morning and wasn't rewarded.

1.42 pm: An ungainly hoick towards midwicket for three, a square drive for two, and then a slog-sweep for six. Chahar's 40th over is a costly one. Gurbani hit the six towards midwicket that took Vidarbha to 425 for 9. The lead is now 95.

1.30 pm: There's more frustration in store for Rest of India, as Ajinkya Rahane at first slip drops a catch off Chahar. Gurbani heaved and got an outside edge; the ball seemed to have struck Rahane's collar bone, and on to his chin, and down. He lets out a sheepish smile. None of the three chances have been taken in the slips by Rest of India today.

1.17 pm: The last pair won't give up without a fight, especially after the lower-order resistance of the first session. They're not just content to leave deliveries alone and defend. Rajneesh Gurbani, the No. 11, plays an uppish square drive for a four off Tanveer, and in the next over, bowled by Chahar, he lofts to deep midwicket for another one, and cuts through third man for a third. The lead is 75 now. It's 405 for 9.

1.05 pm: Wakhare tries to turn a delivery to leg, misses it, and the middle-stump is pegged back. It was a googly from Chahar that landed on the off-stump line; it turned in and snuck between the bat and pad. Wakhare may have avoided his dismissal had he instead looked for a defensive stroke.

12.47 pm: Welcome back. Eventful start to the second session. Tanveer induces an edge from the bat of Wakhare, but Hanuma Vihari at first slip messes the opportunity. The ball, travelling low, passes through him and into the boundary. Vihari had been waiting for the ball to land on his palms, but it went underneath his hands.

And soon after, Chahar has the breakthrough. The wicket is that of Karnewar, the big fish. The left-hander tries to pull a delivery that is short and quick. It raps him on the thigh pad, and it's adjacent to the stumps. Chahar is so sure of the verdict that he doesn't even look at the umpire. Karnewar dismissed for 102.

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11.59 am: A Sehwag-style way to bring up a maiden century. Karnewar has been confidently playing his strokes and he is so confident now that he throws caution to the wind and slog-sweeps Jadeja to long-on for a six to bring up his century. His team-mates and support staff stand and applaud the effort, which has given Vidarbha the edge now. A thorn in the flesh of Rest of India, and a particularly painful one as well.

It's lunch, at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. It's 377 for 7, the lead is 47. A hundred and thirty two runs scored in the session, for the loss of one wicket.

Vidarbha 377 for 7 (Karnewar 102 n.o., R. Sanjay 65) leads Rest of India 330 by 47 runs.

11.56 am: Karnewar plays a late cut through third man for another boundary, his 13th, this time off Vihari. It takes him to 96.

11.52 am: Karnewar is into his 90s now, a cut through backward point taking him there. The delivery from Jadeja was short, and the set batsman took full advantage of it.

11.40 am: Rajpoot comes back into the attack. Karnewar greets him with a punch through extra-cover for another boundary; it takes him to 81. It's 351 for 7 after 121 overs. The lead is 21.

11.36 am: Four runs coming from Jadeja's 35th over. Wakhare tucks a delivery to leg for a single, before Karnewar cuts to backward point to run three; the fielder dives to pull it back from the boundary.

11.31 am: Karnewar plays out a maiden over from Chahar, defending all his deliveries like an expert batsman.

11.27 am: Karnewar goes down on one knee and plays a drive through extra-cover. Chahar the bowler. It's a picture-perfect stroke, with a nice follow-through. It takes him to 74. The lead is now 12.

11.11 am: Wakhare turns another delivery to leg — off Tanveer — to provide Vidarbha the lead.

11.07 am: A nudge to leg for a single by Wakhare off Chahar levels the scores.

10.59 am: Yet another four narrows the deficit further, to three runs. Akshay Wakhare, the No. 9, this time gently helps the delivery from Chahar down leg on its way to the boundary.

10.55 am: Karnewar goes down on one knee and plays a bellicose slog-sweep off Jadeja for a six through midwicket. It has been quite an aggressive innings from the lower-order batsman, and the deficit has narrowed to seven. Karnewar moves on to 63.

10.47 am: Chahar seems irate at a not-out decision by the umpire. The good-length delivery was pitched outside off-stump, and hit the batsman right in front of the wickets. Perhaps the umpire thought it was too high. While collecting his cap and goggles, Chahar gives a stare at the umpire.

10.40 am: Five runs from the first over by part-time off-spinner Hanuma Vihari. He starts off with a short delivery; Karnewar pulls hard, lofting the ball to leg, but doesn't middle it, and the ball goes to the boundary between midwicket and square-leg. Vihari corrects himself and bowls much fuller, for better returns.

10.31 am: Amid the profligacy comes the surprise. The nagging partnership is broken at last by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar. The bowler starts by bowling a leg-spinning delivery pitched on off-stump that beats the wicketkeeper for four byes, and off the next delivery — a short delivery, rising up to Karnewar to put away — is hit for a boundary through extra-cover.

The final delivery of the over, bowled to the right-handed Wadkar, is a yorker. Wadkar cannot keep it out; it hits the stumps. Rest of India is relieved at the breakthrough long sought.

Wadkar's 73 is the highest by any Vidarbha batsman in the innings. It's 307 for 7, the deficit is 23.

10.24 am: Rajpoot is hit for another boundary in his next over, the 101st of the innings. The delivery is wide and short, and is duly cut by Wadkar.

10.15 am: Rajpoot is hit for three fours in a row by Karnewar. Barring the first delivery, none of the others were loose offerings.

The first delivery is short, outside off-stump, bowled from over-the-wicket. Karnewar fiercely plays a cut shot for four.

The second, also bowled from over-the-wicket, is short, but there isn't much width. Karnewar punches it to get a four through third man.

The third, bowled from round-the-wicket, is neither short nor wide. But Karnewar manages to nudge the delivery once again to third man, for one more four.

10.08 am: A spinner is introduced into the attack. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja bowls a negative, leg-stump line, to perhaps try to unsettle the right-hand batsman with the ball coming into him. On the contrary, Wadkar adjusts nicely to collect two boundaries through midwicket. Both were short-of-a-length deliveries; in the first instance, he goes on to the back-foot and places the ball to the left of the midwicket fielder, and the in the second, on-drives a little finer.

10.03 am: Wadkar plays a flick to collect his second boundary of the day. Rajpoot replies with a short ball, which the batsman ducks assuredly.

9.58 am: A bouncer and then a yorker, from Rajpoot. And more frustration. When he digs it in short, A. Karnewar, the batsman, ducks intuitively, but leaves his bat hanging high up. The ball touches the back of his bat and travels to the boundary ropes to the right of the wicketkeeper.

Rajpoot makes some remarks on the incident to the batsman, before bowling a yorker to him. Karnewar managed to dig it out safely, and hears some remarks from Rajpoot once again.

9.45 am: Rajpoot bowls the accurate, nagging off-stump line. Wadkar leaves alone most deliveries, and comes close to edging one.

9.40 am: A quiet over from Tanveer-ul-Haq. He beats the bat of both batsmen.

9.34 am: Anguish for Rest of India in the first over of the day. Ankit Rajpoot, bowling from wide of the crease, induces a drive from Wadkar. The ball was wide outside the off-stump, and the batsman had to reach out to the delivery; the edge safely travels between the wicketkeeper and the first slip, much to Rajpoot's frustration. Wadkar moves on to 54 with that streaky stroke. Vidarbha 249 for 6.

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Neither team has the upper hand in the Irani Cup contest, despite two days of intriguing cricket. On Day Two, half-centuries from R. Sanjay and Akshay Wadkar helped Vidarbha remain in the hunt for a first-innings lead. Can Day Three tilt the contest in any team's favour?

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Irani Cup. Wadkar will be key to help Vidarbha close in on Rest of India's 330. A reminder of the scenario — Vidarbha is 85 runs behind, with four wickets in hand.

Vidarbha 245 for 6 (R. Sanjay 65, Akshay Wadkar 50 n.o.) trails Rest of India 330 by 85 runs. (Report)