Medium pacer Anupam Sanklecha ripped through Vidarbha with a careerbest seven-wicket haul as they crashed to their lowest score of 59 against Maharahstra in their group B Ranji Trophy cricket fixture on Sunday.
Sanklecha returned with 7/25 which included a devastating second spell of 5-3-10-5 after a change of ends as Vidarbha's first innings folded in two hours 15 minutes, in the first session.
Such was the hurry that Vidarbha whose previous lowest against Maharashtra was 61 (Nashik, 2010-11), lost their last five wickets for eight runs to sink to a new low. In reply Maharashtra were 240 for 3 to take a firm grip on the four-day match with a massive 181-run lead, exactly the same as Naushad Sheikh (111 batting) and Ankit Bawne's (75 batting) undefeated fourth wicket stand.
Maharashtra began on a jittery note after being reduced to 12/2 in the third over but Jadhav fresh from his exploits against New Zealand counter attacked before being dismissed in a sloppy manner for a 29-ball 30 (6x4). But Shaikh batted with patience en route to his second successive century and he struck 19 fours and one six.
He found a good company in Bawne (75 from 131 balls; 10x4, 2x6) as the duo carried on from where they had left in their match against Rajasthan where the duo had put on 177 including Shaikh's 143. It took no rocket science for Kedar Jadhav to put Vidarbha in after winning a good toss and the script folded at the Eden Gardens on a familiar note with day one witnessing a bagful of 13 wickets as another early finish is looming.
For a third successive time, a team batting first folded inside 100 this season, the previous being Delhi's 90 against Karnataka and Saurashtra's 81 versus Assam. There was some initial movements from the track which needed some technique and temperament but Vidarbha batsmen lacked in both and were done in especially by the away-going deliveries. Having given the first breakthrough in his first over when Sanjay Ramaswamy edged behind the stumps to make Vidarbha 0/1, Sanklecha took a break and returned to haunt them from over number 22.
Before that debutant Pradeep Dadhe (2/11) had given twin breakthroughs including Vidarbha's top scorer on the day Shalabh Srivastava (19) to rattle them ot 43/4. Sanklecha had wickets in successive balls in the 24th over when he dismissed Ravi Jangid and Akshay Karneshwar as from then on it was a one-way road for Sanklecha.
"It was a dream spell. I just did what my captain asked me to do, to stick to line and length. The conditions were humid so I took a break and changed the ends seeing that there was more assistance from the other side," Sanklecha said.