Mumbai: Young Turks Siddesh Lad and Nikhil Patil rescued Mumbai with counter-attacking, unbeaten half centuries and placed the hosts at a comfortable 342 for 5 at stumps on day 1 of the four-day Ranji Trophy Group A cricket match against defending champions Karnataka here.
Lad was unconquered on 94 while Patil, playing only his second game of the season, was not out on 85 as the sixth- wicket duo put the visiting team attack to the sword with an unfinished partnership of 175 in just over two and a half hours after combining forces midway through the second session of play at the Wankhede Stadium.
The duo came together when Mumbai, whose quarterfinal hopes rest on securing an outright victory over the group leaders, were tottering at 167 for five following the dismissals of opener Shrideep Mangela (4), captain Aditya Tare (72 in 92 balls with 15 fours), Shreyas Iyer (20), Abhishek Nayar (36) and Suryakumar Yadav (19).
It was a tricky time as another wicket would have sent Mumbai crashing for a low total in the first innings after they had chosen to bat, but the two youngsters showed splendid fighting spirit to pull the 40-time champions out of trouble with aggressive stroke-play.
Karnataka also did not take all their chances as Lad was twice let off, when on 13 in a team score of 148 for 5 by Manish Pandey off captain Vinay Kumar and then on 55 by R Samarth off Abhimanyu Mithun.
The no. 6 batsman took full advantage of these reprieves to be unbeaten after a stay of 164 minutes during which he faced 119 balls and struck 18 fours.
His partner Patil was marginally ahead of him at the tea score of 230 for 5 after a brisk beginning but then played a bit more sedately to remain unconquered at the end after facing 129 balls and striking two sixes and 11 fours.
For Karnataka, Vinay Kumar bagged the first two wickets ? Mangela and Iyer, to end with decent figures of 2 for 65. Off- spinner Udit Patel also picked up two wickets in the space of seven balls when he sent back experienced batsmen Nayar and Yadav to finish the day with 2 for 68.
But the big disappointment was young leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal who had Tare caught off a cut shot, but bowled a spate of short balls for the Mumbai captain to rock back and pull with disdain. He ended the day with figures of 1 for 71 in 14 overs.
Scores: Mumbai 342 for 5 (A Tare 72, A Nayar 36, S Lad batting 94, N Patil batting 85; Vinay Kumar 2 for 65, Udit Patel 2 for 68) v Karnataka.