Shukla rocks Mumbai

Mumbai: Bengal's Laxmi Ratan Shukla's seam bowling seemed to have done the magic as he scalped a four-wicket haul as hosts Mumbai rode on Wasim Jaffer's 80 to post 262 for the loss of seven wickets at stumps, on the first day at the Brabourne Stadium, on Saturday.

The veteran opener got a 'life' on individual score of 16 when he edged one to Arindam Das at second slip who missed a sitter off seamer Laxmi Ratan Shukla's bowling. The team's total was 29 at that time.

Jaffer, who missed the first few matches due to his pilgrimage to Mecca bailed Mumbai out of precarious 46 for three as his 80 came off 151 balls with 14 boundaries.

He added 104 runs for the fourth wicket with Abhishek Nayar (62) which was the most profitable partnership of the day. The duo took 190 balls to add the valuable runs and that too in 132 minutes.

Former Bengal captain Shukla was the pick of the Bengal bowlers as he got four for 35 from 21 overs while left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena got a bit of stick for his figures of 2/101. Medium pacer Veer Pratap Singh (1/53) was the other wicket-taker.

The disappointment for Bengal was Shami Ahmed who strived for pace but couldn't make much headaway during his 22-over spell.

Apart from the Jaffer-Nayar partnership, the hosts were also indebted to a 56-run stand between wicketkeeper Aditya Tare (38) and left-hander Ankit Chavan (35), to end the day on a more encouraging note after being put on the ropes by Bengal who won the toss on pitch which had fair amount of green with with a good carry.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma couldn't build upon his impressive century against Hyderabad as he nicked one to Wriddhiman Saha off Shukla having scored only one.

At stumps, Dhawal Kulkarni (24) and Ramesh Powar (1), dropped on 0 by Das at second slip, were the unbeaten batsmen.

On Saturday, when Nayar joined Jaffer after the 39-time Ranji Trophy champions had lost opener Kaustubh Pawar (15), last match's centurion Hiken Shah (0) and captain Sharma.

Mumbai started the proceedings on a wrong note as left-arm spinner Saxena effected the first breakthrough just when it appeared that Manoj Tiwary's decision to field seemed to have backfired.

Saxena had Pawar stumped by Saha and then Shukla, bowling first change, struck two telling blows by inducing edges from the left-handed Shah and captain Sharma in close succession to leave Mumbai gasping for breath.

But Jaffer, who was let off by Das in the slip cordon off Shukla, and the left handed Nayar proceeded to repair the damage with their diligent batting to pull the Mumbai innings around.

Going to lunch at 96 for three, Mumbai reached their 100 in the 41st over and the century stand for the fourth wicket was also raised in 184 balls by the duo.

Finally Shukla made Jaffer flick against the swing and got the leading edge which was caught by short cover fielder Abhishek Jhunjhunwala to break the stand after lunch.

Ten overs later Nayar, too, was consumed by the impressive Veer Pratap as the batsman dragged the ball into the stumps to again leave Mumbai struggling at 172 for five.

(Agencies)

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