Ranji Trophy: A Wasim Jaffer day for Vidarbha

At the end of the second day’s play at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, after bowling out Uttarakhand for 355, Vidarbha raced to 260 for one.

Wasim Jaffer in his silken touch at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha on Wednesday.   -  S. SUDARSHAN

Saurabh Rawat notched up his second hundred of the season in the morning. But the Uttarakhand batsman’s achievement was overshadowed by an unbroken 215-run association for the second wicket between opener R. Sanjay and veteran Wasim Jaffer that put Vidarbha in a commanding position on the second day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.

At the end of the second day’s play at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, after bowling out Uttarakhand for 355, Vidarbha raced to 260 for one. With both the centurions well set, a tiring bowling lot and a long batting order to follow, Vidarbha is set to pile on a gargantuan total.

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Sanjay, returning to the team after being dropped due to a poor first half, and captain Faiz Fazal saw off the 10 overs before lunch without much luck. But just before nicking Deepak Dhapola to the wicketkeeper, Fazal played a big role in saving Sanjay’s wicket.

Sanjay Ramaswamy celebrates his hundred against Uttarakhand in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Nagpur on Wednesday.   -  S. SUDARSHAN

In the second over after lunch, Sanjay, batting on 7, inside-edged left-arm spinner Mayank Sharma on to the pad and umpire Sudhir Asnani upheld the leg-before appeal. Fazal pointed out the thick edge to Asnani and the senior umpire was gracious enough to acknowledge his mistake and reverse the decision.

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Then on, for the rest of the day Sanjay didn’t play a false stroke. With Jaffer for company, Sanjay grew in confidence and started scoring freely after a slow start. His three boundaries in an over off pacer Sunny Rana — a delightful a backfoot punch sandwiched between two cover drives — were a treat to watch.

Jaffer, on the other hand, continued his silken touch this season, teaching a lesson to the opponents with his effortless batting. On a pitch with little life, the moment Jaffer unleashed his trademark flick early in the innings, it was clear that Uttarakhand bowlers were in for a long haul. Jaffer welcomed offie Malolan Rangarajan with a flick and a paddled sweep and then drove Dhapola through covers.

With both the batsmen in the 90s at the same time, Jaffer reached his fourth hundred of the season — a whopping 57th in first-class cricket — with a single to long-on off Rangarajan.

In the next over, Sanjay played an exquisite cover drive off Rana to celebrate his sixth first-class century.

If Jaffer had not been dropped at short mid-wicket off Rana on 105 with 20 minutes remaining in the day’s play, Uttarakhand may have hoped to get back in the game.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 260/1 (W Jaffer 111 not out, S Ramaswamy 112 not out; D Dhapola 1/45) trails Uttarakhand 355 (S Rawat 108, A Sudha 91; U Yadav 4/90, R Gurbani 2/81) by 95 runs at stumps

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