MUMBAI: Forty-time Ranji Trophy winners Mumbai responded aptly to Rest to India on the second day of the Irani Cup, finishing on 155/2 at close of play in reply to the visitors’ first innings 526. The dependable veteran Wasim Jaffer (80) and opener Ajinkya Rahane (55*) combined for 132 runs for the second wicket, after Suresh Raina’s 11th First Class century had allowed Rest to cross 500 in the morning session.
Mumbai trail by 371 with eight wickets in hand. They still have Rahane in the middle, and Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Abhishek Nayar waiting in the wings. With the pitch harbouring no ill intent towards batsmen, the hosts would look to inch closer to Rest and gain the all-important first innings lead. But that's easier said than done against an attack comprising four bowlers to have played Tests for India.
Earlier, Raina (134), in conjunction with Abhimanyu Mithun’s daredevilry, bullied Mumbai’s spineless bowling sans mercy before lunch. The two added 153 in 28 overs for the seventh wicket. Raina resumed on 36 and saw through Harbhajan Singh’s dismissal after the off-spinnner had begun with a streak of boundaries.
Harbhajan perished to a leading edge that was taken by an alert Nayar lunging forward from cover. Shardul Thakur came on and was smashed straight past the stumps by Raina. A pulled single off the next ball gave the left-hander his 35th first class half-century.
Nayar was introduced for the breakthrough in the 15th over of the morning, as Thakur reverted to his Ranji ways, spraying it wide as a matter of habit. Rohit Sharma came on and was greeted by Raina with a boundary guided past slip, a punch over mid-wicket, and then an inside-out biff over cover.
Raina was looking at ease now. He cut left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar for his tenth boundary and hoicked him for six back over his head to enter the 80s. Mithun too got into the act, bashing Nayar through covers and sweeping – on bended knee – Ankeet Chavan for maximum gain.
Raina inside edged Nayar to the mid-wicket fence to reach 98 (as ROI cross 450 and the partnership 100 in just over 20 overs) and square cut the next delivery for a couple to reach his century.
Runs flowed after that. A couple of more sixes against the left-arm spinners and a Mithun inside-edge to Dabholkar that brought the medium pacer his third first class fifty caught the eye. The post-lunch session saw a prompt curtailment of Rest of India. Mithun added just one to his fifty, exiting leg before to Chavan, and Raina was finally out going for his sixth six, the ball coming to rest in the hands of long-on.
It was behind Rest’s imposing 526 that Mumbai began their innings. Disaster struck in the fourth over when wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare, promoted to open, was caught at gully off Ishwar Pandey. Jaffer and Rahane resisted for almost 36 overs, both completing half-centuries and looking entirely untroubled against a bowling attack boasting four bowlers with Test experience.
Just when it appeared that the two would see Mumbai to close, Jaffer’s half-hearted leave against S. Sreesanth took the fatal edge on its way to Ambati Rayudu, who was keeping lieu of the injured Wriddhiman Saha.
Night watchman Shardul Thakur came out to protect the most prized scalp in the Mumbai line up, ensuring that another day will have to be endured before greatness makes its way to the middle.
For Rest, none of the bowlers came up with anything noteworthy. Ishwar Pandey was tight, at best, Sreesanth was slightly expensive, while Harbhajan – who introduced himself as late as the 26th over – failed to make an impact.
Read more writings on Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup by Kunal Diwan.
Day 2: IRANI CUP 2013 — SCOREBOARD
Mumbai: 155/2 (43 Overs), trail by 371 runs
Rest of India: 526 (1st Innings)
Shikhar Dhawan b Shardul Thakur 63 (101)
Murali Vijay b Abhishek Nayar 116 (206)
Manoj Tiwary lbw b Abhishek Nayar 37 (67)
Ambati Rayudu c Wasim Jaffer b Rohit Sharma 51 (83)
Suresh Raina c Javed Khan b Ankeet Chavan 134 (169)
Wriddhiman Saha lbw b Dhawal Kulkarni 17 (19)
Harbhajan Singh c Abhishek Nayar b Dhawal Kulkarni 16 (15)
Abhimanyu Mithun lbw b Ankeet Chavan 51 (90)
Pragyan Ojha c Dhawal Kulkarni b VV Dabholkar 0 (7)
S Sreesanth not out 1 (19)
Ishwar Pandey c A Rahane b Ankeet Chavan 13 (14)
Extras (lb-6, w-4, nb-9, b-8) 27
Bowling: Javed Khan 18-6-45-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 27-5-105-2, Shardul Thakur 18-1-82-1, Vishal Vishwas Dabholkar 26-3-119-1, Abhishek Nayar 25-10-70-2, Ankeet Chavan 10.1-1-56-3, Rohit Sharma 6-2-33-1.
Mumbai (1st Innings)
Wasim Jaffer c Ambati Rayudu b S Sreesanth 80 (126)
Aditya Tare c Manoj Tiwary b Ishwar Pandey 6 (9)
Ajinkya Rahane batting 55
Shardul Thakur batting 4
Extras (lb-4, w-1, nb-0, b-5) 10
Bowling: S Sreesanth 9-3-33-1, Ishwar Pandey 11-4-33-1, Abhimanyu Mithun 9-1-30-0, Pragyan Ojha 7-1-29-0, Harbhajan Singh 7-0-21-0.