R Sanjay leads Vidarbha

Lunch Vidarbha 106 for 2 (Sanjay 46*, Satish 16*, R Chahar 1-19) trail Rest of India 330 by 224 runs

Vidarbha made steady progress in response to Rest of India’s 300 on the second day of the Irani Cup, on the back of opener R Sanjay’s measured 46 before lunch. The RoI bowlers were disciplined right through the first two-and-a-half-hours, with nearly a third of all overs being maidens. Despite that, RoI could collect only two wickets – that of the other opener Faiz Fazal (27) and No. 3 Atharv Taide (15).

The day began with Ankit Rajpoot and Tanveer-ul-Haq sharing the new ball, and both bowlers found inswing to keep the Vidarbha openers on the back foot. Vidarbha got going with back-to-back boundaries in the second and third overs, but they managed only 15 runs in the first 10 overs.

But after bunting the new ball for nearly an hour, Sanjay and Fazal then found their footing. Batting became easier once spinners K Gowtham and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja were introduced into the attack, with Sanjay using the sweep to good effect. Two carbon-copy boundaries from him and a paddle-sweep from Fazal lifted Vidarbha towards fifty.

The breakthrough, however, came from Gowtham himself. In the 21st over, Fazal prodded forward to defend an offbreak, but the ball held it’s line and grazed his glove. Wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan went up for a caught-behind appeal and the umpire raised his finger after consulation with his partner at square leg.

Taide, who came into the side for the injured Wasim Jaffer, then lit up the morning with a late-cut and a pull off Gowtham in the 25th over, effectively hitting him out of the attack. Rahul Chahar, the legspinner, then prised out Taide’s wicket with a quicker delivery on middle stump. Taide took a big stride forward to sweep in the 33rd over, but he was too late onto his shot, and was trapped lbw.

Ganesh Satish then struck a six over Chahar’s head and followed it up with a chip over midwicket for four. On both the occasions, he had opted to skip towards the pitch of the ball to generate extra momentum, given the RoI spinners were not offering much pace on the ball.

The session came to a close after 40 overs, with Sanjay four short of a ninth first-class fifty. Satish, who made 16 off 26 balls, took Vidarbha past 100 just before the break.

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