Akshay Wadkar scored his maiden FC century    PTI
Akshay Wadkar scored his maiden FC century PTI

Day Three of Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final turned out be Vidarbha s day of reckoning against Delhi. Their batsmen dented Delhi s hopes of a win and have brought their side closer to their maiden title. Akshay Wadkar, Aditya Sarwate and Siddhesh Neral stood up in a crucial juncture and handed Vidarbha a 233-run lead at stumps.

Despite the fall of Wasim Jaffer and Akshay Wakhare in the first session, Wadkar and Sarwate led from the front against a raging Navdeep Saini and co. They displayed immense control and adopted a calm approach in the early stages. However, they soon got their eye in and made Delhi pay heavily. Sarwate was the more aggressive of the two.

The pair snitched a 90-stand by lunch to enable a lead. Saini did manage to stifle Vidarbha by picking up Jaffer and Wakhare early. Overnight batsman, Jaffer was a bit lazy in his shot, and was trapped lbw for 78.

Wadkar and Sarwate dominated from thereon. Sarwate was first to reach his fifty, his fifth in First-Class cricket, in 62 balls. Wadkar reached this milestone in 96 balls, his third in First-Class cricket. The pair added 150 runs in 261 balls and stretched the lead in three figures.

Dhruv Shorey remained unlucky as Delhi dropped vital chances. Nitish Rana came into the attack and scalped Sarwate for 79, ending the 169-run stand.

Wadkar was joined by Neral, who initially batted with caution. Wadkar then opened his arms and quickly brought up his maiden hundred.

Delhi’s miseries were not over yet. The Vidarbha batsmen scored with ease amidst indiscipline bowling. Neral upped the ante and took on the spinners. He brought his maiden fifty in 67 balls, comprising of 3 fours and 4 sixes. However, he survived twice, being caught twice off no-balls bowled by Kulwant Khejroliya.

Wadkar and Neral remained unbeaten on 133 and 56 respectively as the final ball of the year was bowled at 17.03. At stumps Vidarbha are 528 for 7.

Brief Scores

Delhi 295 (Dhruv Shorey 145 , Himmat Singh 66; Rajneesh Gurbani 6 for 44) trail Vidarbha 528 for 7 (Wasim Jaffer 78 , Aditya Sarwate 79, Akshay Wadkar 133*; Navdeep Saini 3 for 126) by 233 runs.