The sun finally shed its monsoon-induced diffidence and was out in all its glory at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday. And the brightness-quotient multiplied as Yash Dubey and Shubham Sharma lent their share of luminescence. The centurions and their 222-run second-wicket partnership helped Madhya Pradesh strike a dominant note against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final.

At the third day’s close, Madhya Pradesh posted 368 for three in its first innings and needs a mere seven to surpass Mumbai’s 374. A busy Rajat Patidar and skipper Aditya Shrivastava remain at the crease.

Earlier, resuming at the overnight 123 for one, Madhya Pradesh relished the assurance that radiated from Dubey (133, 336b, 14x4) and Sharma (116, 215b, 15x4, 1x6). Mohit Avasthi attempted a yorker, Dubey dug it out and in the same first over steered a four. And through the day, this pattern was replicated, if any Mumbai bowler beat the bat or let out a ear-splitting lbw appeal, the riposte would be a four!

Mumbai skipper Prithvi Shaw’s plans of stifling Dubey and Sharma came to nought. Sharma essayed two drives for four off Tushar Deshpande, and soon it became a tale of fluid runs. Mumbai fielders perhaps crossed a line while sledging, and umpire K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan had a word with Shaw.

MUM vs MP Highlights, Ranji Trophy Final Day 3: Madhya Pradesh trails Mumbai by six runs at Stumps; Dubey, Shubham shine with hundreds, Patidar slams quickfire fifty  

The shared pursuit of team glory and individual milestones powered Dubey and Sharma as they reached their respective fifties. Mumbai had a chance when Sharma, on 55, chipped one towards short-cover, and Armaan Jaffer failed to latch on. There was a minor scare when Dhawal Kulkarni’s short-pitched delivery struck Dubey on his helmet. The batter remained unruffled, the bowler gestured an apology, and a few overs later, Dubey straight drove Kulkarni for four.

When spinners Shams Mulani and Tanush Kotian raised the odd query, the former was hoisted for six, and the latter struck for four as Sharma shifted gears. Dubey added his bit after surviving an lbw appeal from Kotian, slamming the spinner past the ropes. The 100 was etched once Dubey swept Kotian, and Madhya Pradesh was sitting pretty at lunch with 228 for one.

On resumption, it was Sharma’s turn. The second new-ball made no impact, and with a cover-drive, Sharma reached his ton. He then hit some fours, survived a needless appeal for caught behind, but Avasthi, the aggrieved bowler, soon found the edge. Madhya Pradesh was 269 for two ,and the spectators applauded Sharma and vociferously cheered the next man Patidar due to the Royal Challengers Bangalore connect.

The batter exuded a T20 vibe, striking fours at will without sacrificing his aesthetics. And with Dubey continuing to hold firm, Madhya Pradesh was on 301 for two at tea. In the last session, Patidar was caught on 52 but off a Mulani no-ball and Mumbai’s cup of woes brimmed. Eventually Dubey snicked Mulani, and Mumbai fielders graciously patted the batter. Madhya Pradesh is ahead in the summit clash and should stay that way unless Saturday throws up some surprises.