Awate’s ton propels Maharashtra to 227 on Day 1

Maharashtra finished Day 1 of their Ranji Trophy group B match against Vidarbha in Nagpur on a strong 227 for 3. Debutant Virag Awate notched up a ton and finished the day unbeaten on 111.

Skipper Rohit Motwani was unbeaten on 24 when stumps were drawn.

Motwani won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a track which was flat with minimal grass. Awate who replaced Nikhil Paradkar opened the innings in the company of Harshad Khadiwale with regular opener Chirag Khurana being demoted to number seven. Awate and Khadiwale started slowly but with confidence. Both batsmen took some time to get used to the wicket which became slower as the day progressed.

Khadiwale was run out on 26 by Shalabh Shrivastava, putting an end to what looked like a promising innings.

Awate who was slowly getting into his groove was joined at the crease by Sangram Atitkar. The new batsman began aggressively stroking two boundaries as Awate also found his rhythm, timing a couple of crisp drives and also flicking the ball off his hips in style.

The Awate-Atitkar stand yielded Maharashtra 94 runs. Atitkar was dismissed by Vidarbha captain Sairaj Bahutule who also snapped up Ankit Bawne cheaply.

Awate took 282 balls to reach his hundred and along with Motwani stitched an unbeaten partnership of 72 runs. Motwani said that Maharashtra would like to add around 200 more runs before entertaining any thoughts of a declaration.

"500-550 runs would be a good first innings total. If we manage to get those runs, then our bowlers can back themselves to take 20 wickets," the skipper said. He also said that the scoring rate was likely to go up tomorrow.

"We will look at the scoreboard at tea and then take a call. However, our intention is to get a result from this match and all our efforts will be concentrated towards obtaining those six points." he said.

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