Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Gomel, Sarfaraz tons boost Mumbai

Aakarshit Gomel scored a ton on debut, while Sarfaraz Khan remained unbeaten on 169 to help Mumbai fight back against Madhya Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy fixture.

Aakarshit Gomel celebrates his century against Madhya Pradesh as Sarfaraz Khan looks on, at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Mumbai's hopes of making it to the quarterfinals may be dashed, but the side unearthed a specialist opening batsman in Aakarshit Gomel in its last Ranji Trophy group fixture.

The 26-year-old right-hander showed patience and relied on his varied shot-selection to thwart Madhya Pradesh on the opening day at the Wankhede Stadium.

It was a special outing for Gomel, who scored a ton on his first-class debut (122 off 240 balls, 11x4, 1x6). If Gomel made his presence felt, Sarfaraz Khan too maintained his dream run as he remained not out on 169 while Mumbai ended the day at 352-4.

Reeling at 71-3 at one stage, the host fought back in style, riding on Gomel and Sarfaraz tons.

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Compact at the crease and getting behind the line against medium-pacers in the early part of the innings, Gomel cashed in when bowlers erred to reach a stylish half-century after 117 balls, six fours and built on the confidence to reach 101 off 201 balls. Gomel’s risk-free batting was a revelation, giving no chance to the bowlers. Having come up the age group ranks for Mumbai, he was the accumulator the team needed. The opener lasted 377 minutes.

For MP, Kuldeep Sen impressed on the first day morning with swing and control. He struck with the very first delivery, getting the ball to swing just enough to draw opener Hardik Tamore forward and then beat him with away movement. He was unlucky to be caught over-stepping after a cutback sent Sarfaraz’s off-stump flying off the fourth ball faced. Siddhesh Lad was a big wicket, late to react to an in-swinging delivery.

Gomel, however, chose the sensible way of occupying the crease as his senior partner Suryakumar feasted on the bowling, reading the ball off the pitch early to slam nine boundaries, driving with content before failing to keep down an attempted glide.

The Mumbai opener played the perfect foil to aggressive Sarfaraz and ensured that they amassed 275 runs for the fourth wicket. Even though Gomel was dismissed in the last session, Sarfaraz will come out fresh on Thursday to continue his assault on the bowlers.

Brief scores

Mumbai first innings 352-4 (Sarfaraz Khan not out 169, Aakarshit Gomel 122; Kuldeep Sen 3-67) vs Madhya Pradesh.

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