After having threatened to put up a mammoth first innings score, Mumbai retreated and stopped just short of dropping into a trench on day one of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Jharkhand at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium here on Wednesday.
A total of 303 for six from 90 overs might not seem that bad on what was essentially a two-paced wicket. But Akhil Herwadkar’s third century of the season (107, 217b, 12x4), Suryakumar Yadav’s fine half-century (75, 70b, 9x4, 2x6) and Shreyas Iyer’s excellent 54-ball 45 sugar-coated with eight boundaries should have helped achieve more. At stumps, skipper Abhishek Nayar was on 25 and debutant Sufiyan Shaikh on nought.
Mumbai, after electing to bat, was off to a cautious start. The first convincing scoring efforts were seen only in the fifth over when Jay Bista drove two in the ‘V’ for fours. But it was not long before he was consumed by a full length seaming delivery from left-armer Jaskaran Singh.
The entry of Shreyas, though, brought with it an element of thrill. The youngster who has been in terrific touch this season played true to his form. He drove elegantly through covers and cut with finesse even as Herwadkar stood like a rock at the other end. The 50-run partnership for the second wicket came in just 53 balls of which Iyer scored 38.
The promising innings was cut-short when Shahbaz Nadeem’s arm-ball breached his defence and stuck his pads but Yadav, the next batsman, kept the rate up. He was particularly severe on the leg-side, sweeping ever so well and dancing down the track majestically.
Herwadkar too perhaps didn’t want to be left behind hitting a flurry of fours to get to his 50. Except for a mistimed hook when on 13 and an attempted heave on 96 which just about cleared the fielder at short-midwicket, it was a chanceless innings.
“My mindset has changed,” he would say later. “My game is a bit attacking. But I am not playing that from the start. I am taking time to judge things and get set. It’s helping me.”
The 136-run third wicket alliance was broken when Yadav slashed wide of off stump and was caught behind. The dismissal with the score at 227 was expected put the brakes on the scoring rate. Siddesh Lad tried to fight this perception and even clubbed three boundaries in a 13-minute 16-ball vigil.
But from the moment he was run out by a direct hit by Virat Singh fielding at point, Mumbai laboured. Not a single boundary came off the bat in close to 20 overs. In between, Herwadkar, stepping out a fraction too soon, was stumped down the leg side.
Abhishek Nayar and Dhawal Kulkarni consumed a sum-total of 166 balls to make 36 runs.