Irani Cup: Vidarbha lower-order sparks revival

Vidarbha, in reply to the Rest of India’s first innings total of 330, was 245 for six at stumps on the second day of the Irani Cup at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.

Ankit Rajpoot struck with the new ball late in the day to end an enterprising 68-run sixth-wicket stand between Wadkar and Aditya Sarwate (18) to keep the visitor in front.   -  S. Sudarshan

Lower-order revivals have been the cornerstone of Vidarbha’s success in the 2018-19 domestic cricket season, and against the Rest of India in the Irani Cup, it was the turn of wicketkeeper-batsman Akshay Wadkar to lead the fightback in an intense day that saw the latter’s spinners chip away at the Vidarbha top order.

The host, in reply to the Rest of India’s first innings total of 330, was 245 for six at stumps on the second day of the Z. R. Irani Cup at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Wednesday.

As it happened: Vidarbha vs Rest of India, Day Two

Ankit Rajpoot struck with the new ball late in the day to end an enterprising 68-run sixth-wicket stand between Wadkar and Aditya Sarwate (18) to keep the visitor in front.

The Rest of India spinners teased and tempted the home batsmen to their doom. The slow bowlers began the slide after Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal and R. Sanjay had given their side a solid start with a 50-run stand for the first wicket.

Lower-order riposte

After blunting the new ball from the medium pacers, Fazal and Sanjay scored with a little more freedom against the spinners. But K. Gowtham had Fazal feathering a catch to Ishan Kishan when the batsmen pushed forward to a delivery that held its line.

Atharwa Taide, who replaced Wasim Jaffer in the squad, looked ill at ease at the start, and played across to a straight ball from Rahul Chahar and was trapped in front just when he was slowly getting into his groove.

Ganesh Satish joined Sanjay to begin the phase during which the home side dominated the bowling. Satish was adventurous, whacking a full toss from Chahar over the bowler’s head. Satish continued to attack when the opportunities came and his aggression rubbed off on Sanjay, who hit a few crisp drives on the onside to reach his fifty.

Sanjay had a slice of luck on 63 when Chahar couldn’t latch on to a return catch. But the batsman couldn’t cash in on to the reprieve as he drove in the air and was caught by Hanuma Vihari at short cover for 65.

Mohit Kale (1) shaped for a cut off Gowtham and the faint edge nestled into Ishan’s body and the keeper completed the catch while falling over. Umpire C. K. Nandan, who was unsure initially, referred the decision after consulting his partner Nitin Menon. Kale didn’t look happy with the decision.

Satish (48), after hammering Jadeja for a boundary, played back and was trapped in front to leave Vidarbha in trouble at 168 for five.

However, Gowtham’s absence due to an injured shoulder saw the sixth-wicket stand prosper. Wadkar punished the loose offerings from both Jadeja and Chahar to reach a deserved fifty.