Opener Vineet Saxena scored one of the slowest double hundreds in recent times as Rajasthan crawled their way to 404 for 2 against Tamil Nadu by stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy final, in Chennai, on Friday.
After scoring 221 without loss on the first day, Rajasthan's batsmen did not display any positive intent to up the ante as they added only 183 runs in the 90 overs sent down.
Saxena, who became the second Rajasthan batsman after Hanumant Singh to score a double century in the final, was unbeaten on 207. But he has already consumed a whopping 555 balls during which he hit 25 boundaries and a six.
Giving him company was the tournament's top-scorer Robin Bist, who also played an excruciatingly slow knock of 16 off 74 deiveries. The batsmen dismissed were Aakash Chopra (94, 307 balls, 10x4) and skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (67, 146 balls, 7x4).
With the ball starting to keep low, a total in excess of 550 may be prove to be a daunting one for Tamil Nadu although they have a formidable batting line-up.
The slow approach of Rajasthan's batsmen, however, raised doubts whether their bowlers will get enough time to take 10 Tamil Nadu wickets on such an unresponsive pitch.
In case Tamil Nadu bats more than 30 overs and their innings is not completed then result will be decided on run-rate.
For example, Rajasthan, till now, have scored their runs from 180 overs at a rate of 2.24. If Tamil Nadu bats more than 30 overs and their innings is not completed, they will need to score runs ,at an asking rate of 2.25.
Saxena is at the crease for 12 hours and 27 minutes. The only thing disappointing about his effort was that he was more subdued than on Day 1. His only positive approach was lifting offie Sunny Gupta over the mid-wicket fence.
A thick outside edge past gully off Yo Mahesh helped him reach the most coveted milestone in his 13-year career. He consumed 524 balls in the process.
Earlier, Chopra was adjudged leg before the wicket to left-arm spinner Raju Aushik Srinivas.
It was unfortunate that the seasoned batsman missed a century by only six runs (307b, 9x4, 440mts). By then, he and Saxena put on a solid 236 in 104.1 overs.
Saxena and his captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar were ten up to the task in their effort to remain at the wicket as long as possible.
While Saxena found the success for the second day running, Kanitkar had to walk back as he edged to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
Rajasthan (1st innings): (Overnight 221-0)
Aakash Chopra lbw A Srinivas 94
Vineet Saxena batting 207
Hrishikesh Kanitkar c D Karthik b S Gupta 67
Robin Bist batting 16
Extras: (B-9, LB-6, WD-2, NB-3) 20
Total: (For 2 wkts in 180 overs) 404
Fall of wickets: 1-236, 2-362.
Bowling: L Balaji 249580, J Kaushik 331344-0, V Yo Mahesh 266710, R Aushik Srinivas 6123105-1, Sunny Gupta 30582-1, Abhinav Mukund 206-0, K Shrivasudevadas 10-50, M Vijay 30180.