Jaipur: Opener Vineet Saxena hit his ninth century in first-class cricket and added 206 runs for the undefeated second wicket stand with skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar as Rajasthan finished second day’s play at 236 for one as Mumbai’s dream of winning a hat-trick of Ranji Trophy titles looks like a distant reality.
With only dismissal of the day being veteran opener Aakash Chopra (17), Saxena (111 batting, 284 balls, 415 minutes, 14x4, 1x6) and Kanitkar (96 batting, 255 balls, 380 minutes, 14x4) made the opposition bowlers toil throughout the day.
With only 18 runs to required to take the all-important first-innings lead, Kanitkar and Co. will be gunning for a huge lead in order to bat the defending champions out of the title race.
Although the duo scored runs at a pretty slow pace (run rate being 2.48) but that was of little relevance in the end as they eliminated the risk factor by not going for fancy shots. Only when they were provided with loose deliveries, they made full use of it.
Mumbai started the day with India discard Ajit Agarkar getting Chopra out in the 11th over of the innings. However after that breakthrough, the next six hours and 20 minutes proved to be frustrating for the Mumbai bowlers.
While none of the Mumbai bowlers went for too many runs but they also failed to take wickets. None of the seniors bowlers could bowl an incisive spell.
While Agarkar went for 57 runs in his 22 overs, Aavishkar Salvi and debutant Aaquib Sheikh gave away 34 and 42 runs respectively. Salvi bowled 20 overs and Shiekh bowled 14.
Even offie Ramesh Powar and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla sent down 13 and 10 overs respectively without much success.
With batsmen like Rashmi Ranjan Parida, former India U-19 captain Ashok Menaria, Robin Bisht and Rohit Jhalani still to come, the hosts will definitely feel confident of creating the biggest upset in this edition of the tournament.