Zaheer among wickets as Mumbai on verge of outright win

Cuttack: India pace spearhead Zaheer Khan grabbed three wickets on Thursday in his first competitive match after an injury lay-off even as Mumbai were on the verge of an outright win over Orissa on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Division match here.

Zaheer polished off the tail in Orissa`s first innings with two quick wickets as the hapless home side were shot out for a paltry 93 after resuming the day at 57 for seven.

Zaheer took the wickets of Deepak Behera and Basant Mohanty to end Orissa`s innings with the figures of 3 for 31 from his 12 overs. He had bagged a wicket yesterday.

Following on after trailing by 436 runs in the first innings, Orissa were 163 for seven in their second innings at the draw of stumps.

They are still trailing by a huge 273 runs with just three second innings wickets in hands.

Off-spinner Romesh Powar grabbed four wickets in Orissa second innings for 41 runs, while Zaheer chipped in with one for 21 from his 10 overs. Alvishkar Nayar grabbed two conceding 22 runs.

At stumps today, Basant was delaying the inevitable, batting on 41 -- the highest for his side in the second innings -- along with Lagnajit Samal (14).

Niranjan Behera was the second highest scorer for Orissa with 30 as the home side faced a tough time negotiating the Mumbai bowlers.

Zaheer was playing in his first domestic match to test his fitness before travelling to Australia for India`s gruelling four-match Test series tour starting next month.

He has been provisionally named in the Indian squad for the Australia tour pending his fitness. He is expected to play in another Ranji match in order to get the green signal for the Australia tour.

Brief scores: Mumbai 1st Innings: 529 for 8 decl

Orissa: 57 for 7 in 29 overs (Niranjan Behera 26; Dhawal Kulkarni 4/37, Zaheer Khan 3/31) and 163 for 7 in 75 overs (Basant Mohanty batting 41; Romesh Powar 4/41).


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