Hyderabad: Maharashtra captain Rohit Motwani expects big knocks from Ankit Bawne and Sangram Atitkar to take his side to a 400-plus total in the Ranji Trophy final against Karnataka being played here.
"It looks like an even-stevens proceedings till now. Tomorrow's first session would be important for us. I think a big partnership would aptly set us the game. From here, important stage is like the set batters Ankit Bawne and Sangram Atitkar should make a big one," Motwani said summing up the day's proceedings.
"If they bat out for the the first session (tomorrow), it would be a good morale-booster for the other batters."
Bawne (89) and Atitkar (29) were at the crease when the stumps were drawn for the day as Maharashtra made 272 for 5 in 90 overs.
Making it clear that Maharashtra is eyeing a 400-plus total, Motwani said: "Initially, we would prefer to make a total of 400 first and hope to build on it. If we have wickets in hand, tail-enders could chip in. If the partnership continues and gets us 100-150, then it's like cake-on-the-cherry."
Motwani felt it was sheer bad luck that the side lost five wickets.
"If you could see the wickets, they were not like good deliveries bowled by the bowlers. They were like cheap wickets and we chasing the ball away from the stumps. Chirag (Khurana) hitting a poor shot and Kedar (Jadhav) was a bit unlucky. But overall it was not a great wicket-taking deliveries. It was part of the game and you have to deal with it."
On the wicket, he said it was on a slower side and as the ball got older it did not come to the bat that quickly as the new ball comes.
"So, with the old ball, it's really a hard work because the ball gets softer and there is much of a reverse swing and the ball keeps getting softer. So, it's a bit of hard work.
You have to spend some time on the wicket."
Motwani praised Bawne for his unbeaten knock which helped the team to make a respectable total though it lost wickets early.
Karnataka's Sreenath Aravind said: "The day was pretty good for my team, for the players. It's going on well till now".
He replied in the negative when asked if there was a feeling that the team might have played an extra spinner or an extra batsman.
"No. It's a team combination and at the end of the day, never felt that way. We have put in best efforts," he said but admitted that Karnataka would have like to take two more wickets at the end of day one's play.
"It (the pitch) is a little bit slow. But bowlers have bowled lengthy. We could have expected another two wickets.
But unfortunately, we could not get it."
Aravind said Karnataka would look to contain Maharashtra to 320-350 runs which he felt was a "safe total" for his team.
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