NEW DELHI: History has been made at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, where the Maharashtra pair of Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne have recorded the highest partnership in the history of India’s premier domestic competition, the Ranji Trophy.
Opener Gugale – in his first match as captain of Maharashtra – and No 4 Bawne added an unbeaten 594 against Delhi in their second round fixture of the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy. Their stand for the third wicket has eclipsed the long-standing record of 577, set by Vijay Hazare and Gul Mohammed for Baroda v Holkar in the 1946-47 season.
It is also the second-highest association in all first-class cricket, behind only the 624 that Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene added in a Test match against South Africa. Before today, the 580 that Rafatullah Mohmand and Aamer Sajjad added for WAPDA against Sui Southern Gas Corporation in Pakistan’s domestic cricket was the second highest.
Gugale declared the innings at 635/2 at which point he was 351* and Bawne 258*. The pair had joined with Maharashtra 41/2 on the first morning.
When they crossed 540, the two batsmen beat the previous highest stand for the third wicket in the competition – 539 set by Sagar Jogiyani and Ravindra Jadeja for Saurashtra versus Gujarat in 2012.
These are career-best knocks for both batsmen. Gugale’s previous best in 17 first-class matches was 174, while for Bawne it was 172 in 61 appearances. Delhi captain Unmukt Chand has so far used nine bowlers to try and break this extraordinary stand, himself included.
The new format for the current Ranji season includes matches played an neutral venues around the country. Hence, Maharashtra and Delhi are playing in Mumbai instead of in Pune or one of the capital’s grounds such as the Feroz Shah Kotla or Roshanara where they would traditionally have played as hosts.