Shreyas Iyer literally toyed with the Tamil Nadu bowlers in the last session. But in the larger context of the game, the innings of the Tamil Nadu duo of B. Indrajith and V. Yomahesh was more vital as the visiting team snatched the innings lead against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy Group ‘C’ tie.
Thanks to Indrajith's 152 (247b, 14x4) and Yomahesh's maiden century on his return to first-class cricket after almost five years (103 n.o., 216bm 9x4, 4x6), TN overhauled Mumbai's first innings total of 374 after lunch on the penultimate day's play at the MCA Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy.
TN began the day at 239 for 5. Mumbai was able to take early wickets in the morning to peg the visitor back; Indrajith carried on from his unbeaten century but couldn’t influence the goings-on at the other end. R. Ashwin edged pace spearhead Dhawal Kulkarni to Prithvi Shaw at gully in the second over of the day, while N. Jagadeesan was bowled around the leg while attempting a sweep off left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil.
At 287 for seven, Mumbai was favourite to pocket three points. However, Yomahesh looked very comfortable at the crease, hitting the left-arm spin duo of Gohil and Aditya Dhumal over the fence soon after arriving. Indrajith, meanwhile, continued to rotate the strike, with Mumbai deciding to wait for a mistake at the other end.
- Mumbai 374 and 85 for 1 (Iyer 56*, Herwadkar 24*; Shankar 1 for 27) leads Tamil Nadu 450 (Indrajith 152, V. Yomahesh 103*; Gohil 4 for 129, Kulkarni 2 for 50) by nine runs.
The mistake arrived, but from Indrajith. Moments after crossing the 150-mark, Indrajith edged Gohil and Siddhesh Lad latched on to a sharp chance close to the ground. From there on, with Rahil Shah blocking one end, Yomahesh decided to take charge. The all-rounder, who wasn't even in the probables at the start of the season, scored at will against all the five Mumbai bowlers.
The most important of his nine fours and four sixes came an hour after lunch as a six over mid-wicket was followed with a sweep for four off Gohil that fetched Yomahesh his fifty and TN the lead. A tired Mumbai attack then continued to offer freebies to TN batsmen and Yomahesh ensured that he not only got past his previous best of 81, scored against Maharashtra in 2012-13, but also notched up a memorable century.
Having conceded a lead of 76, Mumbai was in a slight spot of bother when Prithvi Shaw succumbed to a Vijay Shankar yorker early on. However, Iyer then tormented the TN attack, first hitting Ashwin for a couple of sixes over wide long-on and then hitting two towering sixes off Shankar in the same over, including one that landed on the club house roof.
- “I wasn’t in the probables in the first place. But, I wanted to go to the nets and I wanted to bowl. I wanted to bowl to good batsmen. It was my initiative, absolutely. I called up Bala bhai and I wanted to come and bowl. Even he was courteous enough to allow me to come and bowl in the nets. Luckily, a few injuries were there for the fast bowlers and I underwent a fitness test which I did really well and that’s how I got back.”
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