Five wickets in the second session within a span of 14 overs helped Mumbai move into a commanding position against Tamil Nadu on the third day of their Ranji Trophy clash at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here with the hosts tottering at 249 for seven.
Chasing 488, TN was motoring along steadily at 178 for two when pacer Tushar Deshpande removed skipper B. Aparajith leg-before. In the very next over, Shams Mulani struck twice to remove the well-set Kaushik Gandhi (60) and Pradosh Ranjan Paul to reduce TN to 178 for five.
Ranji Trophy 2019-20 | As it Happened
Later, left-arm pacer Royston Dias removed B. Indrajith — brilliantly caught by Jay Bista standing close to the batsman at second slip — and Dinesh Karthik caught behind. The home team had lost five wickets for the addition of just 17 runs.
Earlier, resuming at 66 for no loss, TN lost opener Abhinav Mukund early when Deshpande from around the wicket made the batsman play away from the body and edge to first slip.
Deshpande also got the ball to come into the right-handers at a sharp pace and could have had Kaushik caught behind had he not overstepped when the batsman was on one.
While the Mumbai spinners showed great discipline in keeping things tight, skipper Tare too led the side well with attacking fields and having men close to the bat even when the pacers were on to put pressure on the batsmen.
Post lunch, Kaushik and Aparajith looked to be aggressive against the spinners with Kaushik hitting a six and a four off Mulani to reach his half-century.
But just after Aparajith was leg-before to Deshpande, Kaushik threw away his wicket. He stepped out to a wide delivery from Mulani only for the ball to spin away sharply and wicketkeeper Tare whipped the bails quickly.
A gritty rearguard effort from R. Ashwin and R. Sai Kishore ensured TN lost no further wickets in the last session as both the batsmen showed great application in batting time, scoring 41 runs off 27 overs.
The two would need to repeat the same on the final day to bail out TN from a self-inflicted precarious position it finds itself in.
Mumbai — 1st innings: 488
Tamil Nadu — 1st innings:
Abhinav Mukund c Bista b Deshpande 58, L. Suryapprakash c Deshpande b Bhoir 41, Kaushik Gandhi st. Tare b Mulani 60, B. Aparajith lbw b Deshpande 14, B. Indrajith c Bista b Dias 6, Pradosh Ranjan Paul b Mulani 0, Dinesh Karthik c Tare b Dias 7, R. Ashwin (batting) 32, R. Sai Kishore (batting) 17; Extras (nb-3, b-8, lb-3): 14; Total (for seven wkts. in 121 overs): 249.
Fall of wickets: 1-76, 2-134, 3-178, 4-178, 5-178, 6-186, 7-195.
Mumbai bowling: Mulani 38-15-59-2, Deshpande 21-5-47-2, Dias 21-8-34-2, Attarde 20-4-67-0, Bhoir 14-2-26-1, Bista 3-3-0-0, Lad 3-2-1-0, Sarfaraz 1-0-4-0.
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