Mumbai: Seasoned opener Wasim Jaffer cracked his 50th century in first class cricket to rally champions Mumbai from a difficult situation on day one of their Ranji Trophy Group A clash against fellow-state rivals Vidarbha at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.
The lanky Jaffer remained unbeaten on 133 at stumps after batting right thorough the day and guiding the 40-time champions from a precarious 39 for 3 to a close of play first innings total of 254 for 8. The 35-year-old former India batsman showed immense patience and tenacity even as wickets fell from the other end. But for his 393-minute vigil, the hosts, who were asked to take first strike, would have folded up for a meagre score.
There were only two significant partnerships for Mumbai, who were rocked by the initial three-wicket burst by medium pacer Sandeep Singh whose victims included South Africa-bound Ajinkya Rahane who was caught in the slip cordon for one run. Jaffer, who faced 261 balls and struck 13 fours and a six to remain unconquered with tailender Vishal Dabholkar (0), put on 64 runs for the fourth wicket in 98 balls with Abhishek Nayar (27) before the latter was bowled round his legs by off spinner Akshay Wakhre who grabbed 2 for 65.
Later the opener added 58 in 111 balls with Shardul Thakur (26) who was one of three victims snapped up by Rajasthan-born Vidarbha left arm spinner Ravi Jangid. It was Jaffer`s 34th hundred in Ranji Trophy and his tally of 50 hundreds in first class cricket includes five in Tests. Vidarbha opted for the second new ball towards close after 87 overs but neither South Africa-bound Umesh Yadav, who went wicketless after six spells, nor Sandeep Singh could break through the ninth wicket stand which was worth 27 runs.
Yadav bowled six overs in his first spell and then was used in short bursts of three overs without success and the best bowler on view on a wicket that offered some bounce and movement was 32-year-old Sandeep who finished with 3 for 29. Brief Scores: Mumbai 254 for 8 (Wasim Jaffer 133 not out; V Dabholkar 0 not out; Sandeep Singh 3 for 29, Ravi Jangid 3 for 48).