Ranji Trophy: Sarfaraz's ton puts Mumbai in command against Odisha

After dismissing Odisha for 284, Mumbai finished at 259 for 3 on day two courtesy of an unbroken 183-run partnership between Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer.

FILE PHOTO: Mumbai's Sarfaraz Khan.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer’s sublime unbroken partnership of 183 runs for the fourth wicket put Mumbai in firm control of its last league game in Elite Group D of the Ranji Trophy against Odisha and took the 41-time champion a step closer to qualifying for the knockouts.

Such was the audacity of centurion Sarfaraz (107*, 117b, 181m, 11x4, 1x6) and comeback kid Armaan (77*, 162b, 195m, 8x4, 2x6), whose uncle Wasim is the Odisha coach, that it left Odisha bowlers flummoxed even
after Rajesh Mohanty’s spirited burst had pushed Mumbai in a spot of bother at 76 for three. As a result, Mumbai - after wrapping up Odisha’s first essay at 284 in the morning - finished Day Two at 259 for three.

When Sarfaraz joined Armaan in the middle, Mohanty, the shortish right-arm pacer, had picked three wickets in seven balls with his effective short-ball ploy. Prithvi Shaw (attempted upper cut resulting in an edge to the keeper), Sachin Yadav (mistimed pull to fine-leg) and Ajinkya Rahane (lobbed to gully off his glove off the first ball
he faced) had perished.

READ: Ranji Trophy: Spinners rule the roost as TN secures lead against Jharkhand

The moment Sarfaraz opened his account with an uppercut over the cordon and followed it up with a perfectly-timed pull to square-leg in the first four balls he faced, the signs were ominous. Not only did he start toying with the Odisha bowlers right away but he gave Armaan - with whom he had shared numerous record partnerships in Mumbai’s school cricket circuit - the much-needed confidence.

After seeing off the hour in the afternoon session and taking Mumbai to 110 for three, the duo changed gears in the last session. They pulverised the bowlers, especially spinners, to amass 149 runs in 30 overs to strengthen Mumbai’s situation.

While Armaan, returning to Mumbai’s side after more than three years, displayed his lazy elegance and timing, Sarfaraz combined his power and innovation to leave Odisha in disarray. The shot of the day was his inside-out six over covers off left-arm spinner Pappu Roy.

The duo turned the tide of the mini-collapse of losing three wickets for five runs in three balls after captain Prithvi Shaw’s entertaining fifty. Moreover, Sarfaraz and Armaan ensured the bowling unit’s good work of picking the remaining four wickets for just 34 runs in the morning didn’t go to waste.

The scoreboard

ODISHA - 1st innings: Debasish Samantray b Raut 10, Shantanu Mishra lbw b Kulkarni 89, Subhransu Senapati lbw b Avasthi 13, Govinda Poddar c Tare b Avasthi 37, Anshuman Rath lbw b Kotian 14, Rajesh Dhuper c Yadav b Kotian 19, Abhishek Raut c Rahane b Kulkarni 39, Rajesh Mohanty c Tare b Mulani 39, Jayanta Behera b Avasthi 0, Prasant Rana (not out) 4, Pappu Roy b Mulani 2.

Extras (b-4, lb-9, w-5) 18

Total (All out, 107.1 overs) 284

Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-36, 3-110, 4-147, 5-188, 6-221, 7-264, 8-278, 9-278.

MUMBAI bowling: Kulkarni 25.5-12-42-2, Raut 16-3-42-1, Mulani 20.2-3-53-2, Avasthi 21-5-66-3, Kotian 24-3-68-2.

MUMBAI - 1st innings: Prithvi Shaw c Dhuper b Mohanty 53, Sachin Yadav c Rana b Mohanty 19, Armaan Jaffer (batting) 77, Ajinkya Rahane c Poddar b Mohanty 0, Sarfaraz Khan (batting) 107.

Extras (lb-1, nb-1, w-1) 3

Total (for 3 wkts., 70 overs) 259

Fall of wickets: 1-73, 2-76, 3-76.

ODISHA bowling: Mohanty 16-1-64-3, Rana 12-4-42-0, Behera 26-5-67-0, Roy 12-0-51-0, Poddar 2-0-14-0, Raut 1-0-17-0, Mishra 1-0-3-0.

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