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“Delhi waale ladke bhi hume puch rahein the, ‘bore nahi ho rahe ho kya? Hum log bowling karke bore hogaye, tum log batting karke bore kaise nahi ho rahe ho?’ (The Delhi team asked us, ‘aren’t you bored? We are bored of bowling to you guys.) I said, ‘who gets bored of batting?” said Swapnil Gugale after the end of second day’s play between Delhi and Maharashtra at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai. The above quote from Gugale is enough proof of how he and his partner Ankit Bawne dominated Delhi bowlers for two days. In their second match of Ranji Trophy 2016-17, Delhi bowler Navdeep Saini scalped two wickets of Maharashtra with the score at 41 and put their side in commanding position. From there on, nothing clicked for the bowling unit as it was a significant knock played by Gugale and Bawne.

Day One ended with Gugale and Bawne’s twin centuries and Maharashtra well placed at 290 for two. For the first time, Gugale was leading the side as Kedar Jadhav is currently with the national side to slated to play the One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand. On the next morning, the duo added another 345 runs and to took their partnership on the verge of a huge record. Before declaring the innings, Gugale spent 717 minutes, while Bawne consumed 674 minutes at the crease after scoring unbeaten 351 and 258 respectively. Their unbroken stand of 594-run is the second biggest partnership in the history of First-Class cricket after Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene‘s 624-run stand between them against South Africa in 2006.

Skipper Gugale, who was unaware of the record that they were on the verge of breaking, took the decision to give his bowlers five overs against Delhi before stumps by announcing a sudden declaration. His unbeaten knock of 351 runs is the seventh highest by any batsmen in Ranji Trophy history and third highest unbeaten knock by any player.

Later, after stumps, Gugale spoke about being unaware of breaking records and stated, “I had nearly 100 missed calls and 200 messages. It was only as I went through them one by one did I realise we were 30-odd short of the world-record partnership in first-class cricket. So there’s a tinge of regret. Maybe I could have declared after the record, but the decision was mine alone so I can’t complain,” Gugale told ESPNCricinfo.

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Gugale has also captained at U-19 and U-25 level. His triple ton is not only first for him but it is also the first by any team’s player against Delhi in Ranji Trophy. On the other hand, Bawne’s innings of 258 made it the fourth instance of two batsmen scoring above 250 in the same innings in a Ranji match.

It was surely a proud feeling for captain Gugale and his partner Bawne as both were once on the brink of representing India in U-19 but missed it. Despite being regular for three seasons, Gugale has played less than 20 First-Class matches but after this marathon knock, one can hope for a new beginning in his career. ‘