Pushed to the backfoot for the third day in a row, Mumbai remained in deep waters at 102 for four in its second innings against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy Group C game at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday. Facing an uphill task after Baroda declared its first innings at 575 for nine, Mumbai lost captain Aditya Tare cheaply (five runs, 11 balls) for the second time. The host team needs to display resolve of a high order to get another 202 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Opener Prithvi Shaw responded with a cracking 56 off 70 balls. The misery of a sixth-ball dismissal was forgotten as the lad played to his strengths and provided a batting spectacle. The punch through covers produced a roar from fans as his 50 came up in 59 balls before a ripper from left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh (8-2-26-1) slipped through six runs later. Atit Sheth had castled Shaw in the first innings with a beauty.
Shreyas Iyer let his team-mates down with a crude slog, betraying pressure of expectations. Ajinkya Rahane (28 not out) gritted it out, and a match-saving knock will be timely. Deepak Hooda declared earlier before tea on Day Three at 575-9, ahead by 404 runs. From the time he won the toss, the Baroda captain was in command as all-rounder Swapnil (164 runs, 309 balls) supported a smart show by swing bowlers on the opening day. The latter crushed Mumbai with calculated batting, cutting loose when the tired bowlers erred. His knock contained 10 fours and four sixes.
Swapnil’s application and a collective determination by the visiting team were examples found lacking by the home team batsmen. Mumbai hit back on the third morning with two quick wickets. Tare’s catch behind the wickets to snare Mitesh Patel was sharp. Diving low to his left, he pouched an edge off Shardul Thakur, and that demonstrated an urge to fight back and halt the slide towards defeat and disgrace.
Continuing the trend of Baroda youngsters cashing in on the chance to prove a point against a first-class heavyweight, Swapnil notched his maiden first-class hundred. The left-arm spinner enjoyed himself at the Wankhede, slamming eight fours and two sixes to reach his hundred off 242 balls. He has another opportunity to prove his value with the ball and rock Mumbai’s batting might on the fourth and final day.
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