Vidarbha relied on half-centuries from its captain Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy to fight back and score 141 for one in its second innings at the end of the second day’s play of the Ranji Trophy Group B match against Maharashtra at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.
However, it was Vidarbha bowlers who provided a better performance to restrict the Maharashtra first innings for 332. Maharashtra resumed at 240 for three, saw Ankit Bawne — unbeaten on 75 on day one — get his second century of the season. He added 92 to its overnight aggregate to secure a first innings lead of 273 runs.
The morning session produced entertaining cricket as Vidarbha bowlers found better line and length to get some purchase off the track. Pace spearhead Shrikant Wagh provided the breakthrough in the fifth over by having overnight centurion Naushad Shaikh (127) caught at point and ended a 201-run fourth-wicket stand.
Young pacer Lalit Yadav impressed with his sharp, away-going deliveries. The Nagpur boy, two for 59 the previous night, picked up two more wickets in successive deliveries. Rahul Tripathi was caught behind and Vishant More was bowled for nought as Maharashtra’s progress was dented at 261 for six.
However, Bawne (111, 199b, 14x4, 2x6) stood firm to add 50 runs with Anupam Sanklecha. Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare broke the stand by dismissing Sanklecha and Wagh claimed two more in his four for 82.
Lalit had Bawne captured at mid-off following a miscued shot and celebrated his second fiver in his debut season. It also closed Maharashtra’s innings at the stroke of lunch.
Vidarbha’s second essay was a story of grit. Fazal (53 batting, 134b, 7x4) and Sanjay (67, 131b, 12x4) played watchfully to deal with the initial movement and rotated the strike once they realised that the pitch had became docile and slower. They put up 141 runs for the opening wicket.
Sanjay, who was tentative to start with, grew in confidence to pick up some boundaries on both sides.
Fazal held one end tight even while sending the loose balls predominantly to the onside fence. On his way to his half-century, he hammered Mohsin Sayyad to the backward point and past the stumps for fours in one over.
Maharashtra had some relief when Sanjay was caught at first slip off Sanklecha in the final over of the day.
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