It could have been a different story for Maharashtra had Kedar Jadhav held on to a regulation catch at slip when pacer Praveen Dadhe found Vijay Shankar’s edge off the fourth ball of the day.
Instead, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder made full use of that reprieve and went on to slam his second consecutive century of the season, frustrating the home team.
However, his patient 107 (214b, 10x4) was not enough to stop Maharashtra from taking a 42-run lead after it bowled out Tamil Nadu for 404 on the third day of the Ranji Trophy clash at the MCA International Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
At stumps, Maharashtra was 104 for three in its second innings, thanks to Rahul Tripathi’s breezy 61 (65, 10x4).
Despite the drop, the day started positively for the host when pacer Ashay Palkar went past Pradosh Ranjan Paul’s defence, dismissing the stylish left-hander for 84.
After being reduced to 317 for seven, Vijay Shankar took control of the innings by farming the strike and got good support from S. Ajith Ram, who was compact in his defence by getting behind the line of the ball with ease.
The duo added 54 runs for the eighth wicket, with Vijay getting to his century with a stylish flick through midwicket.
Both teams let the game go adrift in the second session. Maharashtra would feel it could have been more attacking, even to the well-set Vijay, knowing one wicket would have opened the doors for them to take a big lead.
Similarly for TN, despite his brilliant innings, Vijay could have trusted Ajith a bit more and tried to get some quick runs, as just the first innings lead won’t make much of a difference to TN’s chances.
With a 146-run lead, it remains to be seen if Maharashtra will look to give TN a target to force a result and make it an exciting final day or just be happy to pocket the three points by batting out the opposition.