Kanitkar's century in vain as Railways take lead
Riding on a five wicket haul by Harvinder Singh, Railways took a healthy 123-run first innings lead over hosts Maharashtra on the third day of the Ranji Trophy pre-quarter-final match at the Pune Club ground on Monday.
Replying to the visitors' total of 431, Maharashtra were bowled out for 308 in 109.4 overs. Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar top scored with 124. At stumps Railways in their second innings were 99/2 with Sanjay Bangar (42) and KS Parida (0) at the crease.
The hosts resumed at 101/3. The overnight batsmen Kanitkar (43) and Kaushik Aphale (3) added 72 runs for the fourth wicket off 37 overs. With both batsmen making merry, skipper Abhay Sharma turned to allrounder Sanjay Bangar who turned the tide in favour of Railways with a spectacular show of outswing bowling in the 71st over. First, he trapped Kaushik Aphale (37) leg before with the first ball and then castled Mandar Sane (0) and wicketkeeper Sanjay Kondalkar (0) with the fifth and sixth balls. All three wickets fell with the score on 161.
The sudden triple setback pushed Kanitkar into the defence mode as he dropped anchor at one end. The lower order played well around the southpaw helping in valuable partnerships. Satyen Lande (7) aided the skipper in adding 42 runs for the seventh wicket. All rounder Iqbal Siddiqui (38) also gave good support in putting on 38 runs for the ninth wicket. Kanitkar (124) battled hard before he was ninth out. He faced 240 deliveries with a dozen boundaries in his face saving century.
Harvinder Singh cleaned out the Maharshtra top order bagging 5/95. He was well supported by Sanjay Bangar (3/58).
In the second essay, Railways began with openers Sanjay Bangar (43 not out) and Amit Pagnis (13) playing with a mixture of balanced attack and defence. The openers raced away to 34 runs off six overs. Kanitkar then handed the ball to the experienced Mandar Sane and the leggie obliged picking up the prolific Pagnis in his second over. Siddiqui picked up the explosive T Singh (42) in the last ten minutes of play. Singh played 23 deliveries smashing six of them to the fence and two over the top.