New Delhi, Jan 24: Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha on Tuesday (Jan 24) struck his maiden domestic double hundred as Rest of India (ROI) defeated Ranji Champions Gujarat by six wickets and lift the Irani Cup at the Brabourne Stadium here.
32-year-old Saha remained unbeaten at 203 and forged a partnership of 316 for the fifth wicket with skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, who remained not out at 116.
Saha's mammoth 200-run knock against Gujarat in the fourth innings is the first occasion in the history of Irani Cup, when a double hundred is being scored in the final innings.
The 300-plus run stand between Saha and Pujara is the second highest for any wicket in the Irani Cup. Ravi Shastri and Pravin Amre hold the record for highest partnership when the duo forged a 327-run stand against Bengal in 1990-91.
ROI, at one time, were struggling at 63/4 before Saha and skipper Pujara steered their side from troubled waters and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Saha, who was India's first-choice wicketkeeper in the Test team until the Visakhapatnam Test against England before an injury forced him out of the side.
He was replaced by Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel for the last three Tests and the southpaw made it count with two half-centuries.
However, Saha's brilliant form with the bat will now put the pressure on the national selectors for the first-choice stumper for India's one-off Test against Bangladesh next month and the subsequent four-match series against Australia.
Pujara, on the other hand, accumulated 1522 runs in the ongoing domestic season and eyes breaking Chandu Borde's record of scoring maximum runs in a domestic season. Borde plundered 1604 runs in 1964-65 season.
Pujara, who crossed 1500-run mark in 2012-13 season wants to better his previous best record.
This was the 14th occasion when Rest of India defeated Ranji Champions to clinch Irani Cup out of 18 times. Railways (2002-03 and 2005-06) and Karnataka (2013-14 and 2014-15) are the only teams to have won the tournament so far.