Indore : Akshay Wadkar spearheaded Vidarbha's rearguard action as they reached 528 for seven in their first innings, taking a commanding 233-run lead over Delhi on the third day of their Ranji Trophy cricket final at the Holkar Stadium here on Sunday.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Wadkar remained unbeaten on 133 -- his maiden first class century -- and was involved in two crucial partnerships with Aditya Sarwate (79) and Siddhesh Neral (56 batting).
Maiden finalists Vidarbha, who were 206/4 at the overnight, saw two overnight batsmen, Wasim Jaffer (78) and Akshay Wakhare (17) leave them at 246/6 -- both perishing against medium pacer Navdeep Saini.
While nightwatchman Wakhare was caught by wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, Jaffer was dismissed by a LBW verdict.
But Wadkar and Sarwate stitched together an important partnership of 169 which helped Vidarbha overhaul Delhi's first innings score of 295 all out.
Sarwate's aggressive and free-spirited batting helped Wadkar settle into the rhythm without any pressure. Wadkar put emphasis on his defence while Sarwate took the Delhi bowlers head on.
He scored 50 from just 62 deliveries. At the score of 46, Sarwate got a life when Gautam Gambhir failed to react in time to a cut against spinner Vikas Mishra. That took him to 50.
After scoring 50, though he showed patience, Sarwate got two more chances, at the score of 63 and 67.
He was finally dismissed by Nitish Rana after Pant caught an outside edge, bringing an end to the seventh-wicket stand.
Then, Wadkar was joined in the middle by Neral, who took up Sarwate's role of going for big shots, while the former was intent on stabilising the innings.
Wadkar then completed his century. After this, Wadkar also decided to cut loose, going after the bowlers. Dhruv Shorey forced an edge off Wadkar but Nitish couldn't hold it at first slip, allowing the batsman to hurt them further.
At the other end, Neral, at his personal score of 34, was reprieved after being caught at fine leg off the third bouncer of an over from Kulwant Khejroliya.
Neral continued his streak of big shots. In his unbeaten score of 56, Neral hit four sixes and as many fours.
Brief scores: Delhi: 295 all out in first innings vs Vidarbha: 206/4 (Akshay Wadkar 133 batting, Aditya Sarwate 79, Wasim Jaffer 78, Faiz Fazal 67, Siddhesh Neral 56 batting; Navdeep Saini 3/126, Akash Sudan 2/102) on Day 3.
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