Had Ajinkya Rahane not injured his hamstring last month, Suved Parkar may have been serving drinks. The debutant made the most of First Class debut to give Rahane a fitting birthday gift at the second of the Three Ovals at Alur on Monday.
More importantly, Parkar’s (104 n.o., 218b, 8x4, 2x6) unbeaten hundred - and his two century stands with Armaan Jaffer and Sarfaraz Khan, respectively - put Mumbai in firm control on the opening day of of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.
Riding on the trio’s heroics, Mumbai recovered from 64 for two to end the day at 304 for three, well on course of a gargantuan total.
Despite the match starting 75 minutes late than the scheduled start, the fact that light held up till late meant only four overs’ play was lost eventually.
When Parkar walked in to bat with just seven minutes remaining for the lunch break, Deepak Dhapola - Uttarakhand’s one-man army with the pace - had accounted for both the openers. He survived the awkward period along with Armaan and the duo flourished after the initial half-hour into the afternoon session.
Armaan was classy with his strokeplay, with his whip through midwicket off one that was pitched outside off reminiscent of his uncle Wasim. Parkar took his time and tried rotating the strike. Only when the spin was introduced in the 25th over did he switch gears.
Both his sixes - into the sight-screen off Mayank Mishra’s left-arm spin followed by one over long-on off leggie Dikshanshu Negi - were effortless. Soon after the partnership had touched the three-figure mark, Dhapola returned into the attack and forced Armaan to poke at one in the channel.
Swapnil Singh - who had failed to latch on to a return catch by Parkar when he was on 18 - lunged to take a splendid catch in the slips to end Armaan’s knock.
In walked Sarfaraz and the duo saw off the remaining session without any trouble, with Parkar nudging Akash Madhwal for a single in the last over to raise his fifty.
The last session saw Sarfaraz and Parkar make merry against a tiring bowling unit. While Sarfaraz’s six over covers that sailed over the grass mound was the shot of the day, Parkar showed his class by rotating the strike without any fuss.
Once he entered into the 90s, a nudge through the cordon followed by a flick through midwicket off Madhwal meant Parkar joined an elite list of Mumbai cricketers to have notched up a hundred on debut.