Ranji Trophy: Bista, Lad twin tons steer Mumbai

Thanks to the duo's identical scores, backed by captain Aditya Tare's scratchy 67 and Dhawal Kulkarni's calculated risks in the last hour, Mumbai ended the day at 421 for eight, with a massive first innings advantage of 226.

From left: Jay Bista and Siddhesh Lad run between the wickets on the second day of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy match against Tripura at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

 

Barring the fact that they are in form with the willow, Jay Bista and Siddhesh Lad don't have much in common. While the opener has been trying to cement a place in Mumbai's team for the last three seasons, Lad has firmly established himself as the crisis man. If Bista carries the tag of being the player of Nepali origin to break into Mumbai's team, Lad is the son of a coach who has produced some of the finest talent in the current generation, including a certain Rohit Sharma.

Scorecard

On Saturday, however, it was the similarity between Bista (123, 234m, 136b, 17x4) and Lad (123, 245m, 197b, 16x4, 2x6) being at the best of their games that resulted in Mumbai taking firm control of its last Ranji Trophy league game against Tripura at the Wankhede Stadium and take a giant stride towards booking a quarterfinal berth. Thanks to the duo's identical scores, backed by captain Aditya Tare's scratchy 67 and Dhawal Kulkarni's calculated risks in the last hour, Mumbai ended the day at 421 for eight, with a massive first innings advantage of 226. The Mumbai batting effort overshadowed an impressive five-wicket haul by Tripura captain Mura Singh.

Ranji Trophy: Delhi bowlers destroy Hyderabad

Starting the day at 77 for three in the hunt of Tripura's 195, Mumbai suffered a setback on the first of the second morning. Nightwatchman Karsh Kothari nicked a fuller ball from Mura to Smit Patel behind the stumps. Then on, virtually for the entire session, Tripura had little to cheer about. While Bista continued his driving spree from the first evening without much trouble, Lad justified his promotion ahead of the captain by getting into his groove without much fuss.

Bista's drives were a delight to watch, while Lad played around the wicket. Bista did commit a mistake, cutting left-arm spinner Gurender Singh too close to his body when on 75 but veteran Yashpal Singh failed to latch on to a sharp chance. Soon after the drinks break, Bista raced from 84 to 99 in one over, thanks to a seven-run scoring stroke — a pull shot fetching him three with four bonus runs thanks to Patel's reckless throw to the non-striker end after collecting the ball. In the next over, the trademark drive gave him his second hundred of the season, and third of his career, to give way to a loud scream and a fist pump.

Siddhesh Lad: ‘I am a big fan of Rohit Sharma’

Despite losing Bista just before lunch, Lad continued his onslaught after the break. While he also brought up his second hundred of the season with a cover drive, his pull off Abhijt Sarkar that sailed over the fence and took him in the 90s was the highlight of his innings.

Gaikwad keeps Maharashtra afloat

Ruturaj Gaikwad's maiden first-class hundred may have fallen short of leading Maharashtra to the innings lead but it surely kept Maharashtra in the game as its Ranji Trophy group A game against Assam is poised for a close finish.

Opener Gaikwad's (126, 210b, 14x4, 1x6) was the last wicket to fall in Maharashtra's first innings as it scored 253 in reply to Assam's 279 at the Poona Club ground. In reply, Assam finished day two at 101 for three, with an overall lead of 127 runs.

Brief scores: Assam 279 all out & 101 for three in 35 overs (Rishav Das 35, Abhishek Thakuri 35; Pradeep Dadhe two for 17) vs Maharashtra 253 all out in 68.2 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 126, Prayag Bhati 31; Rahul Singh four for 63, Pallav Kumar Das two for 60, Pritam Das two for 62).