Irani Cup: Advantage Rest of India despite Tendulkar's feat

Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar's record-equalling 81st First Class century was not enough for Mumbai as Rest of India (RoI) bowled out the hosts, taking the significant first innings lead on the third day of the Irani Cup at the Wankhede Stadium here Friday.

At the close of play, Rest of India were 27 for one with a lead of 144 runs after bowling Mumbai out for 409. rest of India made 526 in their first innings.

Resuming the day at 155/2, Mumbai's Shardul Thakur (4) was immediately caught off Ishwar Pandey, which brought in Tendulkar at No.5. Ajinkya Rahane (83) and Tendulkar (140 not out) put together 73 runs before Rahane departed, caught plumb by Harbhajan Singh.

Rohit Sharma (0) and skipper Abhishek Nayar (1) came and went quickly, leaving Mumbai in a spot of bother. But Chavan (49) and Tendulkar put together 103 runs before Chavan was caught by Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha with the scoreboard reading 360 for 7.

The lower order could not support Tendulkar for long and the 40-time Ranji Trophy champions were bowled out.

The 39-year-old Tendulkar showed his master-class at his home ground as he went from strength-to-strength against an effective Rest of India bowling attack, hitting 18 boundaries and two sixes in 197 balls.

Tendulkar equalled Sunil Gavaskar's long-standing record of most centuries in Indian First Class cricket. In the process, Tendulkar also totalled 25,000 runs in this format.

Fifty-one of his hundreds have come while playing for India, 18 for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, three in the Duleep Trophy, two in Irani Cup, five in India's tour games, one against a visiting side and one for Yorkshire.

The maestro also became the 43rd batsman in all First Class cricket to have made at least 81 hundreds. The record for most centuries is owned by Jack Hobbs, who scored 199 centuries.

Harbhajan was the most successful of the Rest of India bowlers, taking 3/64 in his 21 overs. Pandey, Abhimanyu Mithun and Pragyan Ojha chipped in with two wickets each.

Coming out to bat again, Delhi's Shikhar Dhawan, who made a solid 63 in the first innings, was caught off medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni for a duck. Tamil Nadu's Murali Vijay, who scored 116 in the first innings, and night watchman S. Sreesanth were batting on 18 and 7 at close of play.

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