Ranji Trophy: Deshpande, Thakur give Mumbai control on green top

Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande shared nine wickets among themselves to put Mumbai in a commanding position against Chhattisgarh on Day one of the Ranji Trophy.

Tushar Deshpande scalped five wickets to put Mumbai on top.   -  PTI

Chhattisgarh found a true green-top surface at the Wankhede Stadium tough to deal with, especially the home team’s two seamers Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande.

In three and a half hours, the visitor, placed last in the combined Elite Group A and B points table, was shot out for 129.

As it Happened

Ashutosh Singh and Amandeep Khare seemed to have the wherewithal to counter sideways movement, but both of them fell in a similar fashion, edging to keeper Eknath Kerkar off Deshpande who took a five wicket haul for third time in twelve matches.

Eliminated from the knock-outs, Mumbai, after an appalling display against Vidarbha last week, made the most of the lively pitch.

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Mumbai skipper Dhawal Kulkarni opted to bowl first on a lively pitch. As it turned out, Thakur and Deshpande proved to be a menace for the Chhattisgarh batsmen.

Kulkarni, although fit, was not considered for the previous match against Vidarbha in Nagpur as the selectors felt that it would be too much of a risk to field the three seamers who had suffered injuries and had undergone rest and rehabilitation. And in the next match, he was leading the side.

On the eve of the match though, it was Siddhesh Lad, who reported sick because of a back ailment that has nagged him for a few years.

It’s for the first time though that Mumbai took the field this season with a pace pack comprising, Kulkarni, Thakur and Deshpande with a back-up in Shivam Dube.

Kulkarni and Thakur shared the new ball and kept the Chhattisgarh openers in check, but once the first change was made in the ninth over and Deshpande struck of the second ball breaching the defence of Abhimanyu Chauhan, Mumbai found it easy making further inroads on a pitch that did not allow much leeway for the batsmen to stroke the ball with freedom. 

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In this respect, there was an exception in Khare who counter attacked with a run-a-ball 48. His knock was laced with eight hits to the fence and one six.

His dismissal after lunch triggered a collapse and Chhattisgarh, playing its third season in the Ranji Trophy, lost half the side for the addition of 12 runs.

Having dismissed Chhattisgarh in 42.1 overs, Mumbai gave itself the opportunity to settle down and find ways to score runs on a track that was seamer friendly right through the day.

Vikrant Auti put one down in the second over and Suryakumar Yadav - dropped for the previous three matches - demonstrated fortitude. He added 50 runs for the third wicket when Harpreet Bhatia removed the left handed opener, Auti.

But behind by 11 runs in the first innings and with seven wickets in hand, Mumbai can be said to be in a commanding position.

Brief scores:

Chhattisgarh 129 all out (Amandeep Khare 48, Ashutosh Singh 30, Tushar Deshpande 5/46, Shardul Thakur 4/32) vs Mumbai 118/3 (Vikrant Auti 43, Suryakumar Yadav 31 n o) Mumbai trails by 11 runs.

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