Rest of India were cruising on 231/3 before a collapse largely orchestrated by the spinners had them slip to 258/7 at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, in Nagpur. The visitors were eventually bowled out for 330 in the last over of the day.
Electing to bat first on a fairly placid surface, Rest of India opener Agarwal signaled his intentions loud and clear by smashing pacer Rajneesh Gurbani for two fours in the very first over. Anmolpreet Singh (10) too got going with a cracking straight drive and then collecting another four through gully. His joy though was short-lived with Gurbani having the last laugh when he sent Anmolpreet's off stump cartwheeling with a gem of a delivery that straightened from back of a length.
Vihari had a slice of luck on 0 when the umpire failed to spot a clear outside edge off pacer Yash Thakur, but barring that, the Rest Of India No.3 did little wrong.
While he dug in constructing his innings with singles and twos combined with the odd boundary, Agarwal took the aggressive route. The opener thumped left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar for a massive six and soon reached his 23rd first-class half-century in just 74 deliveries.
Agarwal opened up even more once the spinners came into the attack as Rest of India went to lunch on a strong 142/1 after 34 overs with Agarwal unbeaten on 83 and Vihari 36*. The hosts, without the services of Umesh Yadav who is out with a niggle, found it tough to contain the Rest of India batsmen.
A sequence of six, four and four off spinner Aditya Sarwate helped Vihari race to a half-century as Rest of India surged ahead. Just when it seemed a century for Agarwal was there for the taking, he ended up scooping a full-length Thakur delivery straight into the hands of Gurbani at mid-off for 95. His 134-ball knock was laced with ten fours and three sixes.
Walking in at 171/2, Ajinkya Rahane, who hasn't been in the best of form in recent times, had a glorious chance to get some of his touch back. However, the Rest of India captain squandered another chance falling to Sarwate for 13. He guided the spinner with an open face of the bat only for the smartly placed gully fielder to take a sharp juggling catch.
Shreyas Iyer took the aggressive route right away smashing two fours and a six in quick time but his innings was soon cut short by Karnewar for 19. With the last ball before tea, Vidarbha got the key wicket of Ishan Kishan (2) as well who looking to slam right-arm spinner Akshay Wakhare out of the park could only mistime it to Gurbani at cover.
Vidarbha made further inroads after the break getting rid of K Gowtham and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as Rest of India slipped to 258/7 with Vihari still holding fort. Rahul Chahar batting at No. 9 then provided some much-needed resistance and ensured he stayed around with his more experienced partner.
Vihari reached his ton with a thumping drive down the ground off Sarwate, taking 187 balls to reach the milestone. The duo crafted a 49-run stand for the eighth wicket taking the score past the 300-run mark before both Vihari and Chahar fell in successive overs. While Vihari was caught at first slip by Faiz Fazal on 114, Chahar was castled by Gurbani on 22.
Ankit Rajpoot struck a few lusty blows during his 21-ball 25 but fell in the last over of the day as the visitors were bowled out for 330. For Vidarbha, Wakhare and Sarvate picked up three wickets each while Gurbani picked up two wickets.
Brief Scores: Rest of India 330 allout (H Vihari 114, M Agarwal 95; A Wakhare 3/62, A Sarwate 3/99) vs Vidarbha
Aditya SarwateAkshay WakhareHanuma VihariIrani Cup 2019Irani trophy 2019K Gowthammayank agarwalRajneesh Gurbanishreyas iyerVidarbha vs Rest of India 2019wasim jafferYash Thakur
First Published: February 12, 2019, 5:15 PM IST