Dhawan, Abhinav batter Rajasthan
Rajasthan 400 (Bist 93, Parida 85, Menaria 79, Ojha 5-86) and 28 for 0 trail Rest of India 663 and 354 for 2 dec (Dhawan 155, Abhinav 154) by 590 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Rest of India secured the Irani Cup by virtue of a whopping first-innings lead and then, instead of enforcing the follow-on, chose to bat again and batter Rajasthan further. And batter them they did. Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund scored at breakneck pace, made substantial centuries, and helped Rest of India amass 354 for 2 in 54 overs. The late declaration, however, reduced Rest of India's chances of an outright win as Rajasthan had all ten wickets intact at stumps, chasing an impossible 618 for victory.
Rajasthan began the fourth day in Jaipur needing 157 to avoid the follow-on with four wickets in hand. They managed only 93. Ashok Menaria, who had resumed on 59, made 20 more before falling to left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Menaria had charged and lofted straight to long-on. In his next over Ojha had the other overnight batsman, Deepak Chahar, lbw with an arm-ball.
Tailenders Madhur Khatri and Sumit Mathur were both dropped by Manish Pandey at slip as they swung freely for a few quick runs. They added 50 for the ninth wicket before Vinay Kumar trapped Khatri lbw for 31 off 28 balls. Minutes later, Ojha completed his five-wicket haul by inducing an edge to slip from Mathur. Rajasthan were dismissed for 400, trailing by 263.
Parthiv Patel decided to bat again, instead of giving his bowlers more time in the field, and Rest of India pursued quick runs. The openers attacked from the start with Dhawan continuing to punish Chahar for pitching too short. He brought up his half-century off 53 deliveries, by driving a full ball from Chahar to the cover boundary. Abhinav made up for his first-innings failure and reached his fifty off 73 balls. They continued plundering a clueless Rajasthan attack and by tea the opening stand was 200 in 33 overs, with both Dhawan and Abhinav in the 90s.
In the first over after the break, Dhawan cut Chahar and ran a double to bring up a century off 90 balls. He became the first batsman to score a hundred in each innings of the Irani Cup. Abhinav reached his century a few overs later, off 121 balls. It was his third successive hundred in the Irani Cup. Dhawan then laid into Robin Bist, hitting him for two fours and a six in one over and four fours and a six in another.
The partnership had swelled to 310 in the 46th over when Dhawan miscued a loft to long-on and was caught for 155 off 126 balls. His innings contained 22 fours and three sixes. Mukund fell a few balls after bringing up his 150, holing out to long-on off Menaria. Rest of India were 328 for 2 and the declaration came not long after.
With the Irani Cup already lost on the first-innings lead, Rajasthan could only battle to avoid an outright defeat and their openers survived seven overs before stumps. They made 28 and will need to negotiate a testing period on the final morning to help secure a draw.