Ranji Trophy: Herwadkar, Tare save the day for Mumbai

Akhil Herwadkar, with his unbeaten 136, stamped his authority on the game and keeps his team in the hunt of overhauling Madhya Pradesh’s stiff first innings total of 445.

Akhil Herwadkar and Aditya Tare saved the day for Mumbai after putting up a 155-run partnership for the fifth wicket on Day-3.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

With the shadows of the stands having crossed over across the pitch, when Madhya Pradesh pacer Chandrakant Sakure took off to bowl the last ball of his 19th over, Mumbai opener Akhil Herwadkar punched the ball straight for a boundary which summed up the third day’s proceedings of the Ranji Trophy Group A tie at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium.

On yet another day that produced patient batting and disciplined bowling, Herwadkar, with his unbeaten 136 (326b, 19x4), stamped his authority on the game; and more importantly keeps his team in the hunt of overhauling Madhya Pradesh’s stiff first innings total of 445.

Thanks to Herwadkar’s second hundred and his 155-run partnership for the fifth wicket with captain Aditya Tare (165b, 10x4), Mumbai ended the day at 290 for five, 156 runs short of ensuring three points from the game.

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With Ishwar Pandey breaching the alliance 15 minutes into the extended half hour, Mumbai opted for a nightwatchman for the second successive evening. Tushar Deshpande survived and managed to shield Siddhesh Lad and Abhishek Nayar, the two remaining specialist batsmen, for the last day.

If Herwadkar manages to continue his solid innings till lunch on Sunday on a strip which has just about started to crack, Madhya Pradesh will have to settle with a solitary point. The five-pronged bowling unit of MP threw every challenge possible to the left-hander, but Herwadkar didn’t fall prey to anything. He punched with panache, drove with flair and rotated the strike consistently.

All this when he had little support in the morning session from the other end. Shreyas Iyer played Pandey on to the stumps in the third over of the day, while Suryakumar Yadav didn’t capitalise two lives received on 23 and 25, instead gifting his wicket to the spinner 15 minutes before lunch.

Yadav’s dismissal left Mumbai in the lurch at 123 for four. The first hour of the second session saw only 32 runs being scored. But once the bowlers started tiring, Tare and Herwadkar started opening up their arms.

Tare paced his innings exceptionally well and was lucky to have seen Ankit Sharma floor a return catch when he was on 41. Had the Mumbai skipper not misjudged one from Pandey and shouldered his arms to be adjudged leg before wicket, Mumbai would have held the upper hand.

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