The only way the final day of the Ranji Trophy clash between Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu could have been exciting was if the former got some quick runs and set a target for the visitors.
However, early in the morning session of the fourth day, it became evident that a declaration was not in the home team’s plans, having already taken a crucial 42-run first-innings lead on day three.
Resuming at 104 for three, Maharashtra used the last day as an extended net session in the middle and finished on 364 for five in the second innings.
Skipper Ankeet Bawane (152 n.o., 259b, 13×4, 3×6) and Azim Kazi (103 n.o., 140b, 10×4, 3×6) made fine unbeaten centuries without taking any risks and helped their side pocket three points as the match ended in a draw.
Friday’s result meant Tamil Nadu failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy for the fifth straight season.
With the pitch at the MCA International stadium not offering help to the pacers or spinners, Maharashtra’s decision to bat on was not surprising.
Bawane started the day positively, hitting pacer Sandeep Warrier for three boundaries through the off-side and got to his half-century quickly.
TN then got a small opening when left-arm spinner R. Sai Kishore removed Saurabh Nawale and Kedar Jadhav in quick succession. Maharashtra was on 167 for five then and ahead by just 209 runs with a lot of time left in the day.
But Kazi, who joined Bawane, continued from where he left off in the first innings, and the duo quickly doused any hope that TN had with an unbroken 197-run stand for the sixth wicket.
After lunch, Bawane got to his hundred in style with a sweep through midwicket off Sai Kishore. Kazi, who was slightly more aggressive against the spinners got to his landmark in the day’s final session after missing out by 12 runs in the first innings.
Maharashtra — 1st innings: 446.
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 404.
Maharashtra — 2nd innings: Siddhesh Veer c Indrajith b Warrier 0, Ruturaj Gaikwad b Warrier 5, Rahul Tripathi c Indrajith b Warrier 61, Ankeet Bawane (not out) 152, Saurabh Nawale c Indrajith b Sai Kishore 10, Kedar Jadhav c Jagadeesan b Sai Kishore 15, Azim Kazi (not out) 103; Extras (lb-14, w-2, nb -2): 18; Total (for five wkts. in 90.3 overs): 364.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-15, 3-89, 4-135, 5-167.
Tamil Nadu bowling: Warrier 21-1-80-3, Crist 8-1-24-0, Vijay Shankar 12-1-31-0, Sai Kishore 26-2-108-2, Vignesh 4-0-15-0, Ajith Ram 9.3-0-52-0, Aparajith 7-1-25-0, Pradosh 3-0-15-0.