Maharashtra seamer Anupam Sanklecha wreaked havoc with his career best figures of seven for 25 as Vidarbha was all out for only 59 in its first innings on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
In reply, Maharashtra banked on a 181-run unbeaten partnership between centurion Naushad Shaikh (111, 156b, 19x4, 1x6) and Ankit Bawne (75, 131b, 10x4, 2x6) to post 240 for three and gain a 181-run lead at stumps.
On a pitch with a faint green cover, Maharashtra asked Vidarbha to bat and Sanklecha had Sanjay Ramaswamy caught behind in the first over. He followed it up by claiming Faiz Fazal, who gave a sharp catch to Swapnil Gugale at short leg.
Gamesh Satish showed some patience before being trapped in front by debutant pacer Pradeep Dadhe off a yorker.
Dadhe impressed by extracting movement off the surface and in the air. He also accounted for Salabh Shrivastava, who drove the gangling pacer through cover for a four and chased the next to be caught at second slip.
Armed with his accurate and nippy deliveries, Sanklecha changed end for a five-wicket burst in just five overs at the expense of 10 runs.
The 34-year-old had Jitesh Sharma lbw in the second over of his second spell. He bowled Akshay Karnewar and Nitin Yadav in consecutive balls but could not achieve a hat-trick.
“Our captain (Kedar Jadhav) told us not to get carried away and bowl good line and length. Very happy to get my best figures,” said Sanklecha.
Shrivastava (19) was the only batsman to reach double figures as Vidarbha slumped to one of its lowest totals ever, 15 minutes prior to lunch.
Maharashtra too was in trouble at 59 for three.
Naushad and Bawne, who had a century partnership against Rajasthan in the last match, again joined hands to play sensibly. They saw off the period when the Vidarbha pacers were getting some assistance and scored freely after the pitch eased up a bit.
Naushad enjoyed some luck and applied himself to get his second century. He targeted the spinners and sent off-spinner Akshay Wakhare out of the ground over long on for his lone six.
Bawne played some classy drives to the ropes and two brilliant sixes over long on.
The two put Maharashtra on course to grab the maximum points.