Ranji Trophy: Aakash Chopra slams triple century

Nashik: Riding on former India opener Aakash Chopra`s maiden triple century, visitors Rajasthan virtually sealed their Ranji Trophy knockout round berth as they reduced Maharashtra to 280/7 after declaring their first innings at 641/7 on day three of the Plate division semi-final match here today.

Chopra, who began the day at an unbeaten 262, completed his triple in 581 balls.

His marathon knock of 301 not out, which lasted nearly 14 hours, was studded with 36 boundaries and three sixes and came in 582 balls.

Earlier, resuming at an overnight score of 551/6, Rajasthan batsmen plundered 90 runs from 12 overs with Chopra knocking 39 runs from the 36 balls he faced today. Rohit Jhalani (27) and Pankaj Singh (21 not out) too chipped in with useful contributions.

For Maharashtra, eight bowlers rolled their arm over with seven bowlers taking a wicket each.

In reply, several Maharashtra batsmen got starts but failed to convert it into substantial knock, with five batters returning to the pavilion after scoring over 20, as the hosts lost regular wickets.

With Akshya Darekar retiring hurt after making seven, the onus now is on top-scorer N Paradkar (50 n.o., 75b, 4x7, 6x1) and K Bhikane (29 n.o., 15b 4x1, 6x3) to save the hosts, who trail by 361 runs with effectively just two first innings wickets remaining, some embarrassment.

Rajasthan pacemen Deepak Chahar and Pankaj Singh bagged three and two wickets respectively, while Sumith Mathur and Vivek Yadav shared a wicket apiece.

Brief scores: Rajasthan 641/7 decl (Aakash Chopra 301 n.o., R Bisht 80; S Gugale 1-10, S Atitkar 1-53) vs Maharashtra 280/7 (N Paradkar 50 n.o., S Atitkar 42; D Chahar 3-76, Pankaj Singh 2-90).