Mumbai sniff first innings lead over Rajasthan

Mumbai: Mumbai rode on centuries from Rohit Sharma and Abhishek Nayar to be in a good position to overhaul holders Rajasthan`s massive first innings score in their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match, on Saturday.

Sharma struck exactly 100, while Nayar made 155 before retiring at tea because of leg cramps.

But it was Suryakumar Yadav, who tore into the Rajasthan attack as he hit 16 fours and a six in his attacking 87-run knock, that demoralised the visiting team`s bowlers.

At stumps here on day three, Mumbai were 439 for five wickets in reply to the defending champions` imposing 530, with Dhawal Kulkarni (29) and Iqbal Abdulla (10) at the crease.

Nayar is expected to resume his interrupted innings on the final day on Sunday.

The hosts require another 91 runs against a tired attack in which barring the tall Pankaj Singh, who grabbed two wickets and was able to get good bounce and movement on the batsman-friendly pitch, the others looked less than top class.

Singh`s opening partner Deepak Chahar was not impressive and finished wicketless, while the two spinners Vivek Yadav and Gajendra Singh were also easily conquered by the Mumbai batsmen in which Yadav was the most attractive with his forceful batting.

Yadav took centre stage once overnight not out batsman Sharma was dismissed within the first hour of play soon after adding 45 runs to his overnight score to notch up his second hundred in the tournament on the trot.

Sharma, who had made 175 in Mumbai`s league opener against Railways at Delhi earlier this month, was caught in the deep in the 20th over after Mumbai resumed at 104 for 2.

Yadav started playing his shots all around from the beginning and overtook Nayar, who preferred to play second fiddle to his younger partner as the two took Mumbai to 291, an addition of 187 runs in 31 overs in the opening session.

Yadav, who was 62 to Nayar`s 110 at lunch, continued to attack after lunch before falling to a catch at fine leg off a paddle sweep against spinner Vivek Yadav. He added 130 runs in only 112 balls with Nayar.

The run-rate fell after his dismissal as diminutive Omkar Gurav played sedately while Nayar was troubled by cramps and only 93 runs came in the second session off 27 overs.

Nayar, who faced 219 balls in his 373-minute knock and hit 19 fours and a six, did not resume his innings after the tea break when Mumbai were 384 for 4 and Gurav was joined by Kulkarni.

The duo was hardly troubled by the bowlers. Even the new ball failed to provide an immediate breakthrough. The visitors finally sent back Gurav when he backed up too far to a drive by Kulkarni that was deflected on to the non-striker`s stumps by bowler Yadav, when Mumbai were 414.

Rajasthan were unable to make further inroads as Kulkarni and Abdulla added 25 runs to remain undefeated. They suffered a setback when captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who top scored with 141 when they batted, fell on his shoulder to injure himself. He is scheduled to go for a MRI scan.

Brief scores: Rajasthan 530. Mumbai 439 for 5 (A Nayar retired 155, R Sharma 100, S Yadav 87, D Kulkarni batting 29, I Abdulla batting 10; Pankaj Singh 2 for 84).


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