Maharashtra’s Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne etched their names in the record-books by registering the highest partnership in the history of Ranji Trophy and the second-highest in first-class history. Having got together with the score at 41/2, Maharashtra pair added 594 runs for the third wicket against Delhi at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai before the side declared at 635/2.
The partnership came to a halt when captain Gugale declared with the partnership on 594, just 30 runs short of the all-time record for the highest partnership in first-class cricket which is held by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who added 624 against South Africa at Colombo in 2006.
But by the time the declaration came through, the pair had already broken a Ranji record that stood for 70 years and was created by one of India’s legendary batsmen, Vijay Hazare in the final of the 1946/47 final.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, captain Swapnil Gugale would have been disappointed with his side’s start as they lost two wickets inside the first 10 overs. But they didn’t lose another for the rest of day one as Gugale and Bawne helped their side end day one on 290/2.
Records tumble at the Wankhede
From then onwards, the records started to tumble. First it was the record for the highest partnership in Ranji Trophy by a Maharashtra Pair, which was previously held by Kamal Bhandarkar and BB Nimbalkar in the 1948/49 season. The pair also became only the third from Maharashtra to score a double century in an innings after BB Nimbalkar/ KV Bhandarkar in 1948 and C Chauhan/ MS Gupte in 1973.
The pair then crossed 500 and held the record for being only the fourth partnership to do so in Ranji Trophy, with two of three previous ones involving Ravindra Jadeja and just the 15th in first-class history for any wicket. And then came the biggest of the lot when they crossed the all-time Ranji record of 577 which was held by Vijay Hazare and Gul Mahomed, which was achieved in the Ranji Trophy final of 1946/47..
In the process, they also broke the record for the highest third-wicket partnership which was previously held by Sagar Jogiyani and Ravindra Jadeja who added 539 for Saurashtra against Gujarat at Surat in 2012.
Gugale then brought up his triple century and became only the seventh captain and 36th overall to register one in Ranji Trophy. He was the fourth from Maharashtra to achieve this after Nimbalkar, Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Hazare and the first one to score it against Delhi.
He eventually finished unbeaten on 351, with the highest score made at a neutral venue and the third-best score by a captain in Ranji Trophy, behind only Sanjay Manjrekar’s 377 and Vijay Merchant’s 359* and became only the second after Bill Ponsford (429 v Tasmania,1923) to score 350+ on his maiden Fird-class match as captain.