Stand-in-skipper Swapnil Gugale’s patient 152 was complemented brilliantly by Ankit Bawane’s equally impressive 120 not out which helped Maharashtra reach a commendable 290 for 2 against Delhi on the first day of their Ranji Trophy group league encounter.
The duo added 249 runs for the unbroken third wicket stand as Delhi used as many as seven bowlers without much success. Electing to bat at the Wankhede stadium here, Maharashtra were reeling at 41 for 2 as Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini struck twice removing opener Harshad Khadiwale (10) and Chirag Khurana (4) in the first half an hour. While Khadiwale was caught by Delhi’s skipper Unmukt Chand in slips, Khurana was trapped leg before wicket.
Bawane walked two down ably supported his skipper as the two stitched an unbeaten 249 run stand for the third wicket. They ensured that the side did not lose any more wickets in the last two sessions of play. Gugale’s knock comprised 19 boundaries and a six over extra cover. The 25-year-old right-handed batsman, who hit all around the park, made most of the two ‘lives’ which he got courtesy Delhi’s sloppy fielding. He was initially dropped by Chand in the slips on 38.
Later in the post lunch session, Gugale tried to hit over long-on as Nitish Rana missed a dolly. The duo also rotated the strike well by taking cheeky singles and the two complimented each other very well. They also kept hammering the loose deliveries on the pitch which offered little assistance to the bowlers - both pacers and spinners. Delhi even brought back pacers Parwinder Awana and Saini back in the attack, tried part-time spinners Rana and Milind Kumar, but were unable to to break the partnership. Maharashtra were 143/2 at lunch and added only 67 runs till tea when the side was at 210/2. After tea, 80 runs were added to the score.