Bangalore, Sep 23: Murali Vijay hit a record Irani Cup score of 266 as Rest of India maintained their stronghold on the match to take a 354-run lead over Rajasthan on the third day here at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
At stumps, Rajasthan were 43/1 in 12 overs with captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar on 21 and Vineet Saxena on 17. They still have a mountain to climb, trailing by 311. In today's play, 322 runs were scored for the loss of six wickets in 86 overs.
Vijay carried on his batting form from Saturday and punished Rajasthan bowlers. With this mammoth advantage, ROI have almost sealed the title, yet again.
ROI's top five batsmen managed to score 50 or more runs. ROI declared their innings at 607/7 in 165 overs. ROI batted for 719 minutes with Vijay alone occupying the crease for 618.
Murali Vijay's marathon stay at the crease finally ended after 10 hours and 18 minutes. Before that, he had set records and has almost ensured the Irani Cup for ROI. At tea, ROI were 564/4 in 152 overs, a lead of 311. Dinesh Karthik (39) and Wriddhiman Saha (13) are the not out batsmen.
Vijay fell for 266 runs while attempting a big shot over long-on. This was a record individual score in Irani Cup, beating the previous highest of 246 by Pravin Amre (for ROI against Bengal) set at this venue, M Chinnaswamy Stadium in November, 1990.
This was also the right-handed opener's highest first-class score. His previous best was 243 for Tamil Nadu against Maharashtra in 2008.
The 28-year-old, who has been out of the Indian side for more than a year now, will be hoping to earn a recall after this effort. Vijay hit 36 boundaries and six sixes and faced 394 balls.
Vijay was the only batsman to be dismissed in the second session.
Murali Vijay hit a double hundred to power Rest of India's (ROI) lead past 200 in the first session on the third day against Rajasthan in the Irani Cup on Sunday.
At lunch on day 3, ROI were 468/3 in 125 overs. The lead is 215 runs now. Vijay is 221 not out and Dinesh Karthik is yet to open his account. ROI had started the day at 328/2 in 91 overs. The only wicket to fall was S Badrinath (55) in the last over before lunch. He was bowled by Deepak Chahar.
Vijay, who has so far faced 349 balls, has hit 30 fours and six sixes in his innings.
ROI batsmen continued their domination. The trend of bat calling the shots over ball was again on display in the two and half hours session.
Vijay, who resumed his innings on 151, played some delightful strokes in an aggressive approach in the company of his state team-mate Badrinath.