Patience is a virtue and Maharashtra’s Ankit Bawne went by the adage, keeping Delhi waiting at the Roshanara ground on Thursday.
Following on, Maharashtra started the day with 32 for one on the board, needing 224 more to make Delhi bat again and deny them the bonus point. They had taken a lead of 78 when bad light stopped play.
Sniffing victory, the Delhi bowlers went all out, claiming wickets at regular intervals, till young Bawne halted the charge. His ton was cornerstone of Maharashtra’s innings.
Skipper Harshad Khadiwale was packed off early after adding just two runs to his overnight score of 18 before Pradeep Sangwan foxed him with a sudden delivery. Sumit Narwal then got rid of Sangram Atitkar to reduce Maharashtra to 52 for 3.
But the 16-year-old Bawne, who had scored a brilliant 136 against Karnataka earlier in the season, and wicketkeeper-batsman Rohit Motwani had other plans. They batted with determination and by lunch, pushed the total to 170 for 4.
Parvinder Awana struck after lunch. Wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht superbly caught the delivery that kissed Motwani’s bat and went down the leg side. Motwani fell for 61, after sharing a fine 107-run partnership with Bawne.
Sloppy fielding made Delhi’s task tougher. Minutes before tea, Bawne was dropped by Ankur Julka at slip off Sangwan when the batsman was on 74.
After tea, Bawne and Digamber Wagmare helped Maharashtra wipe off Delhi’s lead and kept frustrating the bowlers. Delhi surely missed Rajat Bhatia, who was sitting out with a hamstring injury sustained on the first day.
It took another veteran, Mithun Manhas, to break this partnership. His off-break took the top edge of Wagmare’s bat to land in Yogesh Nagar’s hands at mid-wicket. After spending five hours at the crease and hitting 16 boundaries, Bawne departed. Sangwan, who completed a five-wicket haul, dismissed Bawne with a short-pitched ball as his catch landed in safe hands of skipper Virat Kohli at gully.