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Maharashtra takes lead

By G. Viswanath

PUNE, MARCH 29. Leg-spinner Yogesh Golwalkar collected a bagful of wickets, made a fine impression and did sufficient damage to alarm Maharashtra in its second innings at the Nehru Stadium on Monday. He had wretched luck in the first innings. His colleagues dropped catches and the wicketkeeper missed a stumping chance that had allowed Maharashtra post an imposing score. The Madhya Pradesh fielders did not repeat the mistakes and one of the promising young leg-spinner in the country was rewarded for his long stint of 24 overs.

Golwalkar struck three vital blows in the last session on the fourth day and produced a flicker of hope for Madhya Pradesh, which till then looked a beaten side. There is bound to be some excitement once Maharashtra sets a target for the visitor on Tuesday. Madhya Pradesh must grab its chances and make a match of it in order to make Golwalkar's splendid effort worthwhile. Maharashtra is in front by 284 runs with five wickets in hand, but was quite shaken by the fall of five wickets for 42 runs after Dheeraj Jadhav and Niranjan Godbole opened with a stand of 111 runs in the second essay.

It appeared to be smooth sailing for Maharashtra once it dismissed Madhya Pradesh for 370 and gained a lead of 131 runs. Then a flurry of boundaries from left-hander Dheeraj Jadhav (79, 182m, 141b, 11x4) saw the home team consolidate its position. Jadhav was on course for his second century in the match before he edged off-spinner Syed Abbas Ali to 'keeper Naman Ojha.

After the breakthrough, Golwalkar came into the picture. With line and length being his forte, Golwalkar infused life into a match that was drifting towards a draw. He dispatched Maharashtra skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Kaushik Aphale for nought and caught Godbole off his own bowling. In the second last over of the day, Ranjit Khirid played a rash shot and paid the price. Dhruv Mohan played the turning ball safely in the last over. Maharashtra will largely depend on Mohan to play out time in the first session on the final day.

The scores:

Maharashtra — 1st innings: 501

Madhya Pradesh — 1st innings: M. Pasha c Satbhai b Siddiqui 13, N. Ojha c Satbhai b Adhav 79, S. Dholpure c Aphale b Adhav 38, D. Bundela st. Satbhai b Adhav 83, S. Abbas Ali c Khirid b Siddiqui 33, N. Patwardhan c & b Siddiqui 13, R. Bakshi lbw b Siddiqui 21, Y. Golwalkar c Satbhai b Siddiqui 0, S. Pandey c Siddiqui b Khadkikar 27, S. Pitre c Godbole b Nair 25, N. Hirwani (not out) 20, Extras: (b-6, lb-1, nb-11) 18, Total: (all out, in 130 overs) 370.

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-122, 3-149, 4-198, 5-231, 6-273, 7-272, 8-324, 9-328.

Maharashtra bowling: Siddiqui 34-8-101-5, Khirid 20-7-42-0, Nair 19-4-68-1, Adhav 38-11-93-3, Mohan 5-2-16-0, Khadkikar 14-2-43-1.

Maharashtra — 2nd innings: N. Godbole c & b Golwalkar 35, D. Jadhav c Ojha b Abbas Ali 79, H. Kanitkar b Golwalkar 0, K. Aphale c Ojha b Golwalkar 0, D. Mohan (batting) 24, R. Khirid lbw b Abbas Ali 4, K. Khadkikar (batting) 1, Extras: (b-1, lb-1, nb-8) 10, Total: (for 5 wkts. in 59 overs) 153.

Fall of wickets: 1-111, 2-112, 3-114, 4-143, 5-152.

Madhya Pradesh bowling: Pandey 9-2-20-0, Pitre 5-1-10-0, Golwalkar 24-8-50-3, Hirwani 4-0-20-0, Bundela 7-1-23-0, Abbas Ali 10-3-28-2.

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