Chatting with the national selectors at the Anandji Dossa Library of the Cricket Club of India, Dilip Vengsarkar made a pertinent point at lunch break. He said, during his time, in the mid 70s, the Irani Cup was always a star-studded affair, the match being the first competitive one of a new season. As a 19-year-old commerce student, he had made headlines with a big-hitting effort against India’s premier spinners, Bishan Singh Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna in the Irani Cup match at Nagpur and earned a place in the Indian team for the tour of New Zealand and the West Indies. Vengsarkar pointed out that there was always a heated contest between the Ranji Trophy winner, either Bombay or Delhi, and the Rest of India.
Times have changed indeed. Nothing – with Mumbai plodding against the Rest of India bowling – indicated any sort of intensity on the second day of the Irani Cup at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday. While the Rest bowlers were rewarded for their sweat and toil with seven wickets at an average of 31 as against the three wickets at a cost of 128 plus on Sunday, Mumbai’s outlook was quite a contrast to some scintillating strokeplay by the likes of Jay Bista, Akhil Herwadkar, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav that produced 60 boundaries on the first day of the five-day match. On Monday, the Rest bowlers lifted their game a bit and bowled to their field. Mumbai, resuming from its overnight score of 386 for three, finished with 603. Rest replied with 36 for the loss of K. S. Bharat’s wicket.
Playing his first Irani Cup in his sixth first-class season, the 25-year-old Yadav made the most of the batting conditions to make 156 runs (24 fours and a six) in six and a half hours, facing 271 balls.
Rest claimed the second new ball at the start of the day’s play with Mumbai on 386. And it took them a little over an hour and a half in the first session to get a wicket. After making 162 runs for the fourth wicket with Yadav, Tare edged medium- pacer Krishna Das to the wicketkeeper.
Number six Siddhesh Lad scored a half century, before Rest managed to get rid of Abhishek Nayar for a single digit score. After the fall of the fifth wicket, Mumbai's lower order batsmen put together 91 runs.