Irani Cup: Raina's century puts ROI in driving seat

Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) Suresh Raina's brilliant 134 off 169 balls helped Rest of India (ROI) post a massive first innings score of 526 all out against Mumbai in the Irani Cup here Thursday.

Wasim Jaffer (80) and Ajinkya Rahane (55 batting) led the comeback for the hosts, stringing together a second-wicket partnership of 132 runs as Mumbai reached 155 for two at stumps on day two.

Mumbai though lost Jaffer, caught behind off the bowling of S Sreesanth, in the dying moments of the day.

Rest of India resumed the day on 330 for five but lost overnight batsman Harbhajan Singh after adding just 22 runs.

Raina and lanky pacer Abhimanyu Mithun (51) then combined well for a seventh-wicket partnership of 153 runs as the visitors were well on their way to a huge score.

The left-handed Indian batsman was in fine form as he smacked 14 fours and five sixes in his whirlwind innings.

Mumbai were put on the defensive by Raina's clean hitting and spread the field to put a stop at the free flowing boundaries.

With eight fielders posted on the boundary line, Raina finally fell as he picked up the man on long-on off Ankeet Chavan's bowling.

The spinner was the pick of the Mumbai bowlers taking three wickets while Dhawal Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar chipped in with two apiece.

Mumbai, in reply, started poorly losing opener Aditya Tare (6) in the fourth over. Rahane and Jaffer then avoided anymore hiccups and kept the opposition bowlers at bay.

Rahane, returning from international duty, looked in good touch, negotiating the likes of Sreesanth (1/33), Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh with relative ease.

However, three overs from the end, Jaffer edged one to the waiting gloves of wicketkeeper Amabati Rayudu to send the Rest of India players into raptures.

All eyes were on the Mumbai dressing room as they waited with bated breath for the entry of their legendary localite Sachin Tendulkar.

But much to the displeasure of the Mumbai crowd out walked Shardul Thakur (4 batting), the night watchman, playing out the remaining deliveries to put an end to the day's proceedings.

Matches

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