Awate scores another ton, Maharashtra seal three points
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Maharashtra walked away from Nagpur with three points in the bag, as their match against Vidarbha ended in a dull draw but Maharashtra took the points for first innings lead. Maharashtra set Vidarbha a target of 278, declaring their second innings at 261 for seven. The match belonged to Maharashtra debutant Virag Awate, who struck a polished ton in the second innings to add to his 126 runs scored in the first.
Maharashtra resumed day four at 95 for three with Awate and captain Rohit Motwani at the crease. Awate resuming at 54, wasted no time in taking the Vidarbha bowlers to task as he easily pierced the gaps in the field and brought up his second First Class hundred before lunch. Motwani also found the going easy, as he coasted to a half-century. Awate was dismissed at 112 by Sairaj Bahutule. Kedar Jadhav never looked too comfortable in the middle and he perished soon after scoring 19 runs. Motwani who was looking in good touch was trapped leg before by Vidarbha paceman Sandeep Singh to give him his first wicket of the match.
Motwani had said he thought that a target of 200-220 would be a good one but Maharashtra seemed to have missed a trick as they finally declared on 278, eating into the time their bowlers would have to test Vidarbha batsmen. Centurion Virag Awate said one of the reasons for a little delay in the declaration was the fact that no one in the team knew what would be a safe total on the Nagpur pitch. "We did not want to declare too early and see the opposition chase down the score. We had to ensure that the three points that we had (first innings) would be safe."
Motwani also defended the declaration, saying it made sense to declare only when the team thought that the bowlers could bowl without pressure. "It was important to have a buffer. The bowlers need to bowl with a free mind and without worrying about giving away runs. For that, a score above 250 was necessary," he said. "The batters did a good job and so did the bowlers. However as much as we would have liked those six points, we are happy that we could at least secure our three points." he said.
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