Ranji Trophy: Maharashtra ends first innings at an imposing 461

Naushad Shaikh’s 143 (22 x 4, 1 x 6), Rahul Tripathi’s 95 and Vishant More’s 62 help Maharashtra record an imposing 461 in its first innings against Rajasthan on Friday.

Pankaj Singh Rajasthan, Ranji Trophy

Rajasthan skipper Pankaj Singh (c) celebrates with team-mates after taking a wicket against Maharashtra in Hyderabad on Friday.   -  G. Ramakrishna

Maharashtra recorded an imposing 461 in its first innings against Rajasthan in their Ranji Trophy Group B cricket match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday. Taking it to such a position of strength were Naushad Shaikh’s 143 (22 x 4, 1 x 6), Rahul Tripathi’s 95 and Vishant More’s 62. Rajasthan responded with 76 for two at the close.

>Scorecard

For most of the morning, the toil of the pacemen, especially of Pankaj Singh, bowling with vigour and the same intensity he displayed yesterday, didn’t bear fruit, despite starting off with the second new ball. Centurion Naushad Shaikh cracked a few more boundaries and Rahul Tripathi got his half-century.

The switch to spin and Ashok Menaria bowling from the V.V.S. Laxman pavilion end had the desired effect. Naushad’s push off the left-arm spinner’s first delivery was picked up low by the tweaker with his bowling arm. The 122-run partnership for the fourth wicket lasted two and three quarter hours, Shaikh’s chanceless knock being the highlight.

Chirag Khurana didn’t last long, caught behind off Tanvir Ul-Haq’s wicket-maiden. Tripathi’s march towards three figures was studded with 10 boundaries and two big sixes. Five short of the magic mark, the Maharashtra vice-captain’s edge off Aniket Choudhary was held by second slip Manender Singh. Vineet Saxena then plucked a catch out of thin air at gully from Akshay Darekar off Pankaj.

The string of southpaws starting with Darekar fell in quick succession. Mohsin Sayyed was rapped on the pads by Lomror and Anupam Sanklecha was caught by lone slip Menaria off the same left-arm spinner. Vishant More was the last to depart, his stumps splayed by a Pankaj in-cutter, but not before he slapped eight boundaries in a 104-ball 62.

Pankaj shared more than two-thirds of the spoils with his fellow speedsters, the skipper himself being the pick of the bowling with a bag of four for 62.