Wasim Jaffer missed out on a triple hundred but Vidarbha, in their bid to out-bat Rest of India, posted a mammoth 702 for five at stumps on a rain-curtailed third day of the Irani Cup. Jaffer was out for 286 - adding only a run to his overnight tally, only 28 overs being bowled during the third day.
Vidarbha's approach made it clear that they wanted to convert the match into a one-innings battle with Rest of India having a maximum of 180 overs to achieve the target.
Jaffer's 431-ball innings had 34 boundaries and a six. He was bowled through the gate off a Siddarth Kaul delivery in the third over of the day.
However, Vidarbha continued batting as their young middle-order batsman Apoorv Wankhade (99 batting) and Akshay Wadkar (37) added 91 runs for the fifth wicket.
Wankhade's innings had 12 boundaries and two sixes off 173 balls. When play was finally stopped, Wankhade was just a run short of his maiden first-class hundred.
Ravichandran Ashwin did not bowl a single over during the third day's play. It will be interesting to see whether Vidarbha declare at the start of the day or give Wankhade a chance to complete his hundred.
The pitch being a placid one, it will also be difficult for Vidarbha to get 10 Rest of India wickets. Vidarbha has ensured that it will be near difficult to get a first-innings lead for Rest of India.
As per rule, if Rest of India is not all out, then their run-rate at the completion of the match will decide the winner.
Brief Scores: Vidarbha 702/5 dec. (Wasim Jaffer 286, Ganesh Sathish 120, Apoorv Wankhade 99, Faiz Fazal 89, Sanjay Ramaswamy 53, Jayant Yadav 1/202, R Ashwin 1/123, S Nadeem 1/159) vs Rest of India.
(With PTI Inputs)