On ‘rubbish’ pitch, Maha-UP play Runji trophy

SP

How much is too much? Throughout the final session on Day Two, and the first half-hour of the next morning, spectators at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium mulled over this question, as Maharashtra went past 700, and then 750, with no sign that a declaration was imminent. When the moment finally arrived, Maharashtra were 764 for six.

What were Maharashtra thinking? With less two days remaining, it was hard to see how they could get 20 wickets and force an outright result. After the start they had had, it seemed extremely unambitious of them to settle for three points. But by the end of Day Three, which Uttar Pradesh ended at 287 for one, it looked like they were fearing they wouldn't even get first-innings honours.

Such was the state of a wicket that UP coach Venkatesh Prasad termed "rubbish". UP skipper Suresh Raina was no less scathing in his assessment. "There is absolutely nothing in it for the bowlers. There is no point in killing off a match by making such a wicket," he said, and had a go at the home team's tactics as well. "Batting for two full days and finishing the match is not something that is good for the competition. I don't think that's the right way to go about things."

After Maharashtra had declared after adding 29 to their overnight total and losing captain Rohit Motwani — who added only one to his overnight 146 — the UP top-order took full toll of the conditions, without letting their opponents' total get to them.

Mukul Dagar, who scored 126 runs in an opening stand of 248 with Tanmay Shrivastava, said that the brief given to him was clear. "We had to pay them back," he said. "Our bowlers put in so much effort and it was the batsmen's task to back them up and put some runs on the board."

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