Vidarbha has tightened their grip on their first ever Ranji Trophy title thanks to some brilliant batting display from their lower order batsmen and also to some shoddy fielding and luck on their side.
The hero for Vidarbha was Akshay Wadkar who remained not out on 133 at the end of the day. He stitched important partnerships down the order to help Vidarbha take a big lead.
Starting from the 206/4, Vidarbha soon lost Wasim Jaffer for 78 runs on the board to Saini. Saini also got the wicket of Wakhare for 17 runs and Delhi smelled a small lead in the first innings. However, little did they know that Akshay Wadkar and Aditya Sarwate will make them pay through their noses.
Coming together at the fall of Jaffer on the score of 246/5, Wadkar and Sarwate took the attack to the Delhi bowlers. On the third day, Delhi seemed to lose more of their concentration as they dropped catches in a succession. Wadkar and Sarwate added 169 runs for the 7th wicket with Sarwate making 79 runs in 154 balls.
He was dismissed by Nitish Rana at the score of 415. Vidarbha had more than enough lead to put Delhi under pressure and in came Siddhesh Neral. Neral went after the bowling in search of quick runs, as the Delhi bowlers bowled short to him and he merrily kept dispatching them to the boundary. Neral ended up making his first fifty in First Class cricket.
Meanwhile, Wadkar kept one end occupied and brought up his first First-Class century with a six and a four, in just 168 balls. Wadkar had frustrated the Delhi bowlers enough and Neral on the other end was rubbing salt in the wounds, as he escaped twice when he was dismissed off two no balls.
Delhi team have themselves to blame as Pant’s lack of experience in captaincy clearly hurt them and so did an injury to Saini, which meant that he couldn't bowl much with the new ball. Dropping catches and missing stumpings didn't help Delhi’s cause, as Vidarbha took a massive lead by the end of day three.
DELHI 295 AND VIDARBHA 528/7 (A WADKAR 133*, A SARWATE 79, S NERAL 56*)
Vidarbha lead by 233 runs with 3 wickets in hand