Irani Cup: Rest of India fights back after Karnewar’s maiden ton

Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari remained unbeaten as RoI led by 7 runs at stumps on Day 3. Vidarbha managed a 95-run lead in the first innings thanks to Akshay Karnewar's blazing 102.

Akshay Karnewar raises his bat in celebration after scoring a century (102 runs) during the day third of the Z.R Irani Cup match between Rest of India and Vidarbha at the VCA stadium, Jamatha in Nagpur on Thursday.   -  S. Sudarshan

Akshay Karnewar’s maiden first-class century gave Vidarbha an unlikely lead but Rest of India (RoI), through two of its most accomplished batsmen, fought back on Day 3 of the Z.R. Irani Cup at the VCA stadium here on Thursday.

After conceding a first innings lead of 95, RoI was 102 for two with Hanuma Vihari (40 batting) Ajinkya Rahane (25 batting) surviving a tricky last session on a rapidly deteriorating pitch.

Over the three days a pattern had emerged wherein batting has been at its easiest in the opening session. Making optimum use of the conditions, Akshay Karnewar pulverised RoI into submission and enabled Vidarbha take a handy lead.

Read: As it Happened

RoI openers Mayank Agarwal (27) and Anmolpreet Singh (6) perished in the deep trying to play the attacking strokes. Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahne were patient in dealing with variable bounce and turn in building an unbroken 56-run stand for the third wicket.

RoI’s plans to wrap up the Vidarbha innings quickly went up in smoke as Akshay Karnewar and Akshay Wadkar took the Vidarbha bowlers to the cleaners.

Ankit Rajpoot, who was given an extended spell in the first session, bore the brunt of Karnewar's aggression with the all-rounder smashing three boundaries in an over. Rahul Chahar brought an end to the 79-run partnership for the seventh wicket with a length delivery to Wadkar (73).

However, Karewar found an ideal ally in Akshay Wakhare who was willing to graft. After surviving a close shout for LBW off Chahar on 32, Karnewar scored freely off the spinners. The pleasing backfoot punches were interspersed with lusty blows through midwicket and he completed his century with a six off D.Jadeja. The opening session yielded 132 runs with Karnewar scoring 87 of those runs.

Soon after lunch, Chahar trapped Karnewar (102) in front with a ball that kept low as the batsman shaped for a pull. But the eighth wicket pair between Karnewar and Wakhare had added 76 runs which enabled Vidarbha take the lead.

Chahar bowled Wakhare (20) with a googly but the last wicket pair of Gurbani (28 not out) and Yash Thakur (10) added 39 runs to further frustrate RoI.


Brief Scores

Rest of India: 330 & 102/2 (Hanuma Vihari 40 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 25 not out; Wakhare 1-31) leads by 7 runs against Vidarbha 425 (Akshay Karnewar 102, R. Sanjay 63; Ankit Rajpoot 2-84)


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