Ranji Trophy: Mumbai in control despite Jackson's fightback

Sheldon Jackson scored a gritty 95, but perished off the final ball of the day 2 of the Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai to leave Saurashtra 213 for five.

Sheldon Jackson rebuilt Saurashtra's innings alongside Arpit Vasvada and Prerak Mankad after being reduced to 27 for two at the beginning of the innings.   -  Vivek Bendre

Whenever the inexperienced Mumbai pace attack has been rattled this Ranji Trophy - and there have been quite a few occasions - it has resorted to the short-ball ploy. On Sunday, the Plan B worked when Mumbai needed it the most as Sheldon Jackson (95, 144b, 8x4, 3x6), the seniormost Saurashtra batsman, perished at the stroke of stumps on Day 2 to hand over the advantage to the host in the Elite Group A tie.

Jackson till then had overcome a hamstring injury and a hit on the shoulder, playing a few delightful strokes, to keep Saurashtra in the hunt for Mumbai’s first innings of 394. However, his dismissal off the final ball of the day meant Mumbai surged ahead in the game, with Saurashtra being reduced to 213 for five.

All through the last over, Minad Manjrekar, making his maiden appearance of the season, persisted with the short-ball to Jackson with a packed on-side field. He started around the wicket, was pulled for a four through deep-fine and square-leg, then switched to over the wicket and Jackson displayed a tennis-like swat straight down for a four to inch closer to his hundred.

Read: Nischal, Siddharth fifties save the day for Karnataka

The fifth legitimate ball of the over, however, Jackson went for an audacious hook, top-edged it and Shubham Ranjane - who had been hit by two sixes in an over by Jackson, including a sensation hit over covers - sprinted from deep-square leg all the way to mid-wicket to judge the catch to perfection.

Mumbai batsman Siddhesh Lad celebrates his hundred on day 2 of the match against Saurashtra.   -  Vivek Bendre


That last ball undid Jackson’s rebuilding work along with Arpit Vasavada (69-run stand for the fourth wicket) and Prerak Mankad (107-run partnership for the fifth wicket) after Royston Dias had left Saurashtra reeling at 27 for two at lunch. Soon after the break, Manjrekar took a smart return catch to dismiss opener Snell Patel and leave Saurashtra in further trouble.

Had Aditya Tare not spilled an edge off Mankad’s willow off Ranjane on 36, Mumbai could have ended the day on a happier note.

Also Read: Bengal posts 300 but Andhra shows fight

Saurashtra started the day on an ideal note despite Siddhesh Lad (108, 146b, 16x4, 1x6) notching up his second hundred in as many weeks. Chetan Sakariya had struggled with the new ball on the first morning, but he rectified his line and length to create a chance in the second morning, with Saurashtra opting for the new ball right away. Despite Shivam Dube being dropped by Mankad, the left-arm duo of Sakariya and captain Jaydev Unadkat shared the last five Mumbai wickets for 60 runs.

Lad, starting on 84, moved towards his hundred despite losing Dube (caught behind off Unadkat) early. Soon after, when Lad was on 96, Akash Parkar (lbw by Sakariya) and debutante Tanush Kotian (beaten for pace by Unadkat).

But the Mumbai captain then glanced Sakariya in the next over for his hundred and followed it up with two more hits through third-man before attempting a heave that resulted in his dismissal.

At Mumbai: Mumbai 394 in 107 overs (Jay Bista 127, Vikrant Auti 57, Siddhesh Lad 108, Jayadev Unadkat four for 71) v Saurashtra 213 for five in 64.5 overs (Sheldon Jackson 95, Prerak Mankad 56 batting).

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