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Ton-up Himanshu Mantri helps Madhya Pradesh take crucial lead over Vidarbha in Ranji Trophy semi-final

Himanshu Mantri’s 126 off 265 balls (13×4, 1×6) helped Madhya Pradesh to gain a small yet significant 82-run lead after beginning the day at 47 for one.

Himanshu Mantri showed patience and technical aptitude while constructing a fine hundred to single-handedly guide Madhya Pradesh to 252 in their first innings against Vidarbha on the second day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal on Sunday.

Himanshu Mantri scored the third hundred of the season

Mantri’s 126 off 265 balls (13×4, 1×6) helped Madhya Pradesh to gain a small yet significant 82-run lead after beginning the day at 47 for one.

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In their second innings, Vidarbha reached 13 for the loss of Atharva Taide at stumps, trailing by 69 runs.

The importance of Mantri’s knock, his third hundred of the season, can be gauged from the fact that the next highest score in MP innings was a 30 by Saransh Jain.

But in the morning session, Madhya Pradesh made a steady start through Mantri and Harsh Gawli as the second wicket pair stretched their alliance to 61 as Vidarbha reached 81 for one.

But pacer Yash Thakur (3/51) trapped Gawli (25, 77b) in front of the wicket to snap the stand and Vidarbha lost two more wickets while adding another 12 runs.

Veteran speedster Umesh Yadav (3/40) yorked hosts skipper Shubham Sharma (1) and Thakur won an appeal for leg-before against shuffling Venkatesh Iyer (0).

Vidarbha slipped to an uncomfortable 93 for four but Sagar Solanki (25) gave Mantri solid support as the fifth wicket duo milked 42 runs to steady the ship.

A mix-up with Mantri saw Solanki getting out but a more solid period followed.

Mantri found another willing partner in Jain as the duo added 73 runs for the sixth wicket, taking MP past Vidarbha’s first innings total of 170.

The pitch was eased out a bit as compared to Day 1 but there was enough carry and bounce on the track to keep the bowlers interested.

As the day progressed, spinners too received a bit of turn as left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate and off-spinner Akshay Wakhare posed some questions.

But Mantri had enough skill sets with him to negate those threats – playing the spinners with the turn or standing just outside the crease against the pacers to smother the swing.

Soon, Mantri reached his century with a quick single off Wakhare, and celebrated the moment with a roar.

But just as they were going strong, Jain’s hard-handed prod off Wakhare ended with Aman Mokhade at cover.

Mantri, who received a reprieve on 115, too did not last long as his attempt to sweep Wakhare fetched fatal results.

The ball ballooned off a top-edge and stumper Akshay Wadkar showed fine anticipation to complete the catch diving towards his right.

The Vidarbha innings also folded soon as the last three wickets fell for 21 runs.

Brief Scores:

Vidarbha: 170 and 13/1

Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 252 all out in 94.3 overs (Himanshu Mantri 126, Saransh Jain 30; Umesh Yadav 3/40, Yash Thakur 3/51, Akshay Wakhare 2/68).


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