The inevitable happened. The minnows Uttarakhand, who had fought hard in the first innings to post 355, not only ended up conceding a lead of 274 runs to the defending champions Vidarbha but were left gasping for survival in their second innings, losing five wickets for 152 runs. Aditya Sarvate starred for Vidarbha, notching a hundred and picking up couple of wickets.
When he reached his hundred, Sarvate mimicked his batting stance even as the dressing room erupted in appreciation. The message behind that “batting” celebration was for the team trainer Amiykumar Mohanty who according to Sarvate lists his name “zabardasti” in the bowlers’ group, without giving credit to his batting ability.
“He (Mohanty) divides our Ranji team in two groups whenever we play a warm up game. He always puts me with the bowlers. Chandu sir (Coach Chandrakant Pandit) says I am an all-rounder but Mohanty always put my name with bowlers! So, the celebration was for him that I can bat too,” Sarvate explained.
Just a small digression here on Sarvate’s background would help us appreciate his career better. Twenty one years back when his father Anand Sarwate had gone to Mumbai to meet his brother in law, a tanker smashed into his vehicle, and he went into coma. He recovered consciousness but couldn’t make full recovery and would be confined to the bed.
The son would help his mother take care of him – from giving him bath to everything, Sarvate has stood thick and thin with his family. In the last year’s Ranji final against Delhi, Sarvate had hit a momentum-seizing 79, and added 169 vital runs with Akshay Wadkar, that had taken the game away. The effort on Friday against Uttarakhand was far easier in comparison.
Batsmen did continue to hog limelight and the quarter-final has turned out to be an one-sided affair. Vidarbha resumed at 559 for 6 and went on to post a mammoth 629 runs with Sarvate becoming third batsman in the line-up to cross magical three figure mark.
Uttarakhand tried their best to fight in the second innings but they weren’t allowed. They started off very cautiously, the first seven overs went scoreless and the first boundary came in 17th over. Their openers defended, left and tried to occupy the crease, the idea was to make most of the two days left in the game. Once they settled down, the opener Karanveer Kaushal returned to his natural attacking game. He managed to get boundaries on a consistent basis and it was than Umesh Yadav decided to intervene.
The Indian pacer trapped Vineet Saxena in front of the stumps before castling the stumps of the No.3 batsman Vishal Bhatt. His second spell which read 6-2-17-2 put Vidarbha on top before Sarvate did his part in hastening the end.
After conceding a six and a four to Kaushal, Sarvate went round the stumps to use the rough area created by seamers. It worked perfectly. He even had his Shane Warne moment. He came over the wicket, his ball landed perfectly in rough patch, and turned sharply. Kaushal tried to get his pads in the way but the ball bypassed it and to fall on the off stump. It sparked a pretty loud celebrations from Vidarbha. Kaushal had looked good for his 76 that had 11 fours and two sixes.
Yadav got his third wicket, bowling the debutant Avneesh Sudha and in the final over of the day Vaibhav Panwar was caught and bowled by Sarvate, to a stunning diving reflex catch. A hundred with the bat, a magical ball and a stunning catch – next time he makes teams for warm-ups, the trainer will have to create a special place for Sarvate.
Brief scores: Uttarakhand 355 & 152 for 5 (Karanveer Kaushal 76, Avneesh Sudha 28; Umesh Yadav 3/22) vs Vidarbha 629 (Wasim Jaffer 206, Sanjay Ramaswamy 141, Aditya Sarvate 102; D K Sharma 3/101)