Pune: Virender Sehwag yesterday started the Ranji Trophy season for his new state Haryana in right earnest as his sparkling 92 set the foundation of a decent score of 303 for six at stumps against hosts Maharashtra, here yesterday.
Only 19 days shy of his 37th birthday, Sehwag showed glimpses of his vintage self, with his 92 off 129 balls that had 15 well-timed boundaries. He added 124 runs for the third wicket with centurion Himanshu Rana, who dropped anchor scoring a solid unbeaten 138 off 236 balls that comprised of 20 boundaries.
The Haryana captain came at the start of the second over and by the 9th over, the visitors were reeling at 32 for three with Rahul Dewan (6), Chaitanya Bishnoi (4) and Sachin Rana (7) back in the hut.
But as is his wont, there were no half measures in Sehwag's approach as he counter-attacked the Maharashtra attack of Samad Fallah, Shrikant Mundhe, Dominic Mutthuswamy and Nikit Dhumal. There were cuts, slashes, drives and his 50 came off only 73 balls.
With a reliable partner in Himanshu, Sehwag upped the ante in the post lunch session starting with a couple of boundaries. Just when it looked that Sehwag would score a century, a delivery from Mundhe moved a shade as the legend missed the line to get bowled.
While Rahul Dagar was quickly out leaving Haryana at 158 for five, it was Nitin Saini (26), who added 86 runs for the sixth wicket with Himanshu to steady the ship. As he trudged towards his century, he found an able ally in India A spinner Jayant Yadav (22 batting) adding 59 for the unbroken seventh wicket stand.
Brief Scores: Haryana 1st Innings 303/6 (Virender Sehwag 92, Himanshu Rana 138 batting, Samad Fallah 3/70) vs Maharashtra.