Lunch Vidarbha 377 for 7 (Karnewar 102*, Wadkar 73, Sanjay 65, Wakhare 15*, Gowtham 2-33) lead Rest of India 330 by 47 runs
Akshay Karnewar‘s maiden first-class hundred helped Vidarbha clinch the crucial first-innings lead against Rest of India on the third morning of the Irani Cup tie in Nagpur. Unbeaten on 102 at lunch, he lifted Vidarbha to 377 for 7 on the back of two important lower-order partnerships in a session that saw 132 runs scored for the loss of just one wicket.
The day began with overnight batsman Akshay Wadkar edging through the slip cordon for four, after which he and Karnewar found the boundary at will for the first half-hour. Karnewar, in particular, was quite aggressive, even smacking three consecutive fours off Ankit Rajpoot, frustrating the RoI pacer that led to a brief exchange of words between the two.
When Wadkar, who started the day on 50, fell to a full ball from Rahul Chahar on 73 – chopping on to his stumps – Vidarbha were still 25 runs behind RoI’s first-innings tally of 330. But in No. 9 Akshay Wakhare, Karnewar found a reliable ally with whom he could carry on.
Karnewar soon brought up his half-century, before taking on the slower bowlers. The day’s first six came soon after, with Karnewar smashing Dharmendrasinh Jadeja over midwicket, and he followed it up with a leg glance in the next over to take Vidarbha to touching distance of the lead. Wakhare then tickled a length ball down to fine leg, and Vidarbha had the lead – in the 114th over of their innings.
Karnewar continued to bat aggressively, finding the boundary at regular intervals, and a muscular shot over cow corner – in the session’s final over, bowled by Jadeja – took him to the milestone.
When lunch was called, Karnewar left the field to applause from the Vidarbha corner, and even had RoI captain Ajinkya Rahane walking across for a handshake.
Unfortunately for RoI, K Gowtham, who was injured last evening trying to field a delivery off his own bowling, did not take the field