A.S.K. Varma scored a century, 117 (274b, 11x4, 1x6), his best knock in Ranji trophy, and Hemal Vatekar missed one by just two runs but their record second-wicket partnership of 235 helped Andhra take the first innings lead over Maharashtra here on Saturday.
Maharashtra medium-pacer Shrikant Shrihari Mundhe returned his best figures of five for 74 in his fourth Ranji match.
Andhra was 380 for seven in reply to Maharashtra's 368 when the match was called off before the mandatory overs commenced. Maharashtra opener Harshad Khadiwale, who scored 183 in the first innings was declared Man-of-the-Match.
The second-wicket pair added 136 on the third day and continued in the same vein. The 26-year-old Kakinada-born Varma, 59 overnight, steadily moved towards his third century overtaking his senior partner.
A four off leg-spinner Digambar Waghmare through covers brought his hundred, but he was out soon after lunch, when he edged to wicketkeeper Rohit Motiwani while trying to drive Mundhe.
The 235-run stand with Vatekar bettered the 223 for the second wicket for Andhra between Amit Pathak and F. Rehman against Goa at Kadapa in 1991-92. Vatekar, who inexplicably struggled through the 80s and 90s after starting the day at 67, was trapped in front by Samad Fallah.
Maharashtra had no respite after sending back the two in the space of 11 runs as Y. Venugopala Rao (53, 6x4, 1x6) and B. Sumanth (42, 7x4) shared 74 runs for the fourth wicket and A.G. Pradeep (23, 2x4) and Y. Gnaneswara Rao (16, 4x4) took Andhra past Maharashtra. Mundhe struck twice soon after to record his first five-wicket haul.
Andhra gained three points to take its total to seven with two matches remaining and Maharashtra, leading the table, added one to its tally of 12 points.
Maharashtra — 1st innings: 368.
Andhra — 1st innings: Hemal Vatekar lbw Samad Fallah 98, V. Manoj Sai c Rohit Motwani b Srikant Mundhe 0, A.S.K. Varma c Rohit Motwani b Shrikant Mundhe 117, Y. Venugopala Rao c Harshad Khadiwale b Mundhe 53, B. Sumanth lbw Sangram Atitkar 42, A.G. Pradeep (not out) 23, Y. Gnaneswara Rao lbw Mundhe 16, K.S. Shahbuddin lbw Mundhe 1, G. Sankara Rao (not out) 1; Extras (b-12, lb-7, nb-9, w-1): 29. Total (for seven wickets in 144 overs): 380.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-237, 3-248, 4-322, 5-352, 6-371, 7-373.
Maharashtra bowling: Samad Fallah 34-10-79-1, Shrikant Mundhe 32-10-74-5, Digambar Waghmare 29-3-87-0, Sajin Sureshnath 18-2-56-0, Akshay Darekar 24-7-55-0, Sangram Atitkar 7-1-10-1 .