Gugale, Bawne put on the highest partnership in Ranji Trophy

Swapnil Gugale and Ankeet Bawane stitched together an unbeaten 594-run partnership to break a 70-year old record of the highest partnership held by Vijay Hazare and Gul Mohammed.

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Swapnil Gugale and Ankeet Bawne held their bat and had an unbeaten 594-run partnership.   -  PTI

Soon after Swapnil Gugale and Ankeet Bawne ran a single in the third session, the Maharashtra dressing room — not for the first time — gave them a standing ovation from the Wankhede Stadium balcony. Gugale, the stand-in captain, gestured with his hands in the air to enquire about what it was about and the duo then acknowledged the applause after being told that theirs was now the highest-ever partnership for any wicket in a first-class match on Indian soil.

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At that point, with opener Gugale having crossed 300 and Bawne having crossed a flawless double against a hapless Delhi bowling attack, some in the press box thought the duo — having shattered a plethora of records during the Ranji Trophy Group A game — will go for the highest-ever partnership in the history of first-class cricket. But instead of continuing its record-breaking spree, Maharashtra halted its run feast, declaring at 635 for two.

READ - > Gugale: 'We could have batted on for another two days'

Delhi openers, to their credit, saw off the five overs after being toiled in the field for nearly 12 hours. But their hard work is far from done since they will have to take cue from the Maharashtra duo to avoid further humiliation in the game.

The second day’s proceedings, just like the opening day, belonged entirely to Gugale and Bawne. Both the batsmen are known to be flashy and suffer a lapse in concentration. However, they kept themselves in check on a track that just didn’t have anything in it for the bowlers.

To add to the Delhi woes, Navdeep Saini, the only bowler who had impressed on the opening day, pulled a stomach muscle after bowling the first ball of the day and couldn’t bowl thereafter. Once without his prime bowler, Delhi captain Unmukt Chand was forced to use part-time options for a better part of the day, that too against two batsmen who were at their best.

Gugale, who was dropped twice on the first day, continued his tryst with fortune as he was dropped by Parvinder Awana off left-arm spinner Varun Sood on 262. Later on in the afternoon, keeper Rishabh Pant also failed to latch on to a catch and a stumping chance on either sides of his triple century.

Bawne, on the other hand, continued his solid batting for the second day of the succession. More than the drives and flicks, the hallmark of the partnership turned out be the running between the wickets. While Gugale ran 109 singles and 30 twos and threes combined, Bawne had 126 singles and 22 twos and threes.

The partnership would have made Maharashtra coach Shrikant Kalyani and his Delhi counterpart K.P. Bhaskar — renowned for their own long vigils at the crease during their heydays — turn the clock back.