Upendra Yadav, the 23-year-old from Kanpur, entered record books in style as the wicketkeeper-batsman’s unbeaten double hundred put Uttar Pradesh in firm control of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie and in the process expose Mumbai’s lacklustre bowling and tactics on the second day.
Thanks to Yadav’s masterful 203 not out (239b, 27x4, 3x6), Uttar Pradesh declared its first innings at a gargantuan 625 for eight. Captain Ankit Rajpoot then struck twice towards the fag end to leave Mumbai reeling at 20 for two.
The day started on a bright note for Mumbai, with speedster Tushar Deshpande seeing the back of both the overnight batsmen. While Deshpande castled Akshadeep Nath with a yorker off the second ball of the day, he trapped left-hander Rinku Singh in front of the wickets after changing the angle to around the wicket in the fifth over.
At 303 for six, Mumbai would have hoped to restrict UP to a total of 350. But Yadav’s onslaught in the company of the tail, coupled with Mumbai’s timid display with the ball and in the field, resulted in UP’s last three wickets doubling its tally. Of the 322 runs UP scored in 68.3 overs since Rinku’s dismissal, Yadav amassed 195 in what was a chanceless knock.
His three contrasting partnerships for the seventh, eighth and ninth wicket with Saurabh Kumar (44 off 47b, 8x4), Rajpoot (32 off 63b, 5x4, 1x6) and Yash Dayal (41 n.o., 68b, 5x4, 2x6) took the game away from Mumbai in each of the three sessions. While Yadav played the second fiddle to a flashy Saurabh, who survived two dropped chances before lobbing Royston Dias to square-leg, during their 73-run stand, he protected Rajpoot against Deshpande for much of their 119-run partnership after the captain was hit on the helmet early on in his innings.
Once Rajpoot departed after nicking offie Shashank Attarde behind the stumps, he gave Dayal the confidence while going on a rampage during their unbroken 131-run partnership for the ninth wicket. His 27th four, a cut off Dias, was followed with a deserving burst of celebration and an impending declaration.
Rajpoot then took over and further compounded Mumbai’s misery in the last half hour.