In-form Sarfaraz Khan rescued Mumbai with an unbeaten double century, powering the visitors to a comfortable 372/5 after a top-order collapse on the opening day of their Group B Ranji Trophy game against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala on Monday.
The 22-year-old, who had hit an unbeaten triple-hundred in the last game against Uttar Pradesh, took a listless HP attack to cleaners, hitting 32 fours and four sixes during his unbeaten 226-run knock.
Electing to bowl the picturesque HPCA stadium, the home pacers exploited the windy conditions, grabbing three quick wickets to leave Mumbai reeling at 16/3. Right-arm medium pacer Vaibhav Arora removed both the openers as he first trapped Jay Bista (12) and then cleaned bowled Bhupen Lalwani (1).
One-down Hardik Tamore (2) also fell cheaply after being trapped in front of the wicket by KD Singh. Sarfaraz started the rescue act first by conjuring up a 55-run stand with a Siddhesh Lad (20), to steady the Mumbai’s ship.
Medium pacer Raghav Dhawan broke the partnership as he got the ball to move and it crashed into Lad’s middle-stump. Mumbai went into lunch at 118/4. Lad’s departure did not deter Sarfaraz from playing his shots as he found an able alley in Aditya Tare (62), who got a ‘life’ on 12 after surviving a caught-behind chance.
Post-lunch, Sarfaraz was on a roll as he completed his second successive hundred. He and Tare added 143-runs for the fifth wicket to take the game away from the hosts. However, Raghav Dhawan got his second wicket after Tare nicked one to the first-slip only to be caught by Ankit Kalsi as Mumbai lost its fifth wicket on 214.
Sarfaraz and Shubham Ranjane (44*) then put an unbroken 158-run stand, before umpires drew stumps early owing to bad light after 75 overs. It was Sarfaraz show once again as he will strive to reach his second successive triple hundred, a rare feat in any form of cricket.
Bhatia hits century against Chhattisgarh
Captain Harpreet Singh Bhatia hit a century to help Chhattisgarh reach 270/4 against Jammu and Kashmir on the opening day at Jammu. Bhatia, who scored a 196-ball 116, added 110 runs for the fourth wicket with Amandeep Khare (45*).
Electing to bat, the visiting side suffered an early setback when opener Rishabh Tiwari fell for a 14-ball duck, bowled by Aquib Nabi. Jiwanjot Singh (42) and Abhimanyu Chauhan (51) added 65 runs for the second wicket to steady the ship before the latter was dismissed by Abid Mushtaq. Jiwanjot was then involved in a 86-run partnership for the third wicket with Bhatia.
Puducherry struggle after Vinay Kumar’s six
Puducherry found themselves on the mat at 37/4 after their veteran pacer R Vinay Kumar grabbed six wickets to bowl Chandigarh out for a paltry 134.
Vinay Kumar triggered a Chandigarh middle-order collapse with twin blows in his successive overs en route to 6/32 as the hosts were dismissed after lunch inside 38 overs after they were sent in to bat.
In reply, the Plate leaders Puducherry were reeling at 37/4, trailing by 97 runs at close on first day with Chandigarh new ball bowler Shresth Nirmohi returning with figures of 3/17.
Earlier, opener Arslan Khan top-scored for Chandigarh with a 65-ball 42 before being dismissed by Ashith Rajiv, while Raman Bishnoi (41) also could not convert his start with Vinay Kumar wreaking havoc in post-lunch session.
Majumdar leads Bengal recovery
Anustup Majumdar hit a unbeaten 94 under pressure to help Bengal reach 286/5 on the opening day against Delhi.
Majumdar, who looked in formidable form, had some anxious moments as he survived a run-out chance to remain unbeaten, alongside Shahbaz Ahmed (39*) at the end of day one. The home team turned the game around in the second session as Majumdar found a fine ally in wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami (59).
Scoring above four runs per over, the duo stitched a 117-run fifth wicket stand to give Bengal the edge. “The ball was doing everything in the first session. it was turning, bouncing... It was a different game after lunch. They had a big bonus but the bowlers did not do justice to the toss,” Bengal coach Arun Lal said.
Put in to bat, Bengal’s top three batsmen, including last match’s triple centurion, Manoj Tiwary (7), got out inside lunch but senior batsman Majumdar led the recovery and put Delhi in the back foot in the next two sessions.
Mumbai 372/5 (Sarfaraz Khan 226*, Aditya Tare 62; Vaibhav Arora 2/28) vs Himachal Pradesh.
New Delhi (Karnail Singh Stadium): Railways 98/6 (Arindam Ghosh 32*; Prateek Jain 4/14, Abhimanyu Mithun 2/18) vs Karnataka.
At Vadodara: Baroda 154 (Kedar Devdhar 52; Yusuf Pathan 34; Jaydev Unadkat 6/34; Prerak Mankad 3/17) vs Saurashtra 114/6 (Harvik Desai 31, Avi Barot 26; L Meriwala 4-54; Atit Sheth 2/21).
At Indore: Madhya Pradesh 230 (Yash Dubey 70; Ajay Rohera 42; Saurabh Kumar 3/59; Ankit Rajpoot 3/74) vs Uttar Pradesh 22/3. UP trail by 208 runs.
Chhattisgarh 270/4 (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 116, Abhimanyu Chauhan 51) vs Jammu & Kashmir.
At Dehradun: Uttarakhand 109 (Tinu Kundu 3/49) vs Haryana 50/5 (Agrim Tiwari 4/10).
At Agartala: Tripura 121 (MB Murasingh 24; Manoj Ingale 6/34) vs Maharashtra 127/5 (Ankit Bawane 39*, SM Gugale 34, VV More 30*; Mura Singh 3/29).
At Cuttack: Odisha 215/3 (Shantanu Mishra 66, Anurag Sarangi 58, Govinda Poddar 54*) vs Assam.
At Delhi: Services 232/8 (Mohit Ahlawat 69, Pulkit Narang 38*, Rajat Paliwal 38; Rahul Shukla 6/76) vs Jharkhand.
At Chandigarh: Chandigarh 134 (Arslan Khan 42, Raman Bishnoi 41; Vinay Kumar 6/32, Sagar Udeshi 3/41) vs Puducherry.
At Povorim: Goa 376/2 (Sumiran Amonkar 160, Vaibhav Govekar 160) vs Arunchal Pradesh.
At Cuttack: Sikkim 169 (Rex Rajkumar 4/41, Thomas Moirangthem 3/20) and 1/1. Manipur 91 (Ishwar Chaudhary 6/39, Iqbal Abdulla 3/30).
At Kolkata: Nagaland 243 (Sedezhalie Rupero 105*; G Lalbiakvela 5/55). Mizoram 8/0.
At Patna: Bihar 208 (Ashutosh Aman 72; Aditya Singhania 4/59, Mark Ingty 3/17). Meghalaya 18/0.
Bengal 286/5 (Anustup Majumdar 94 batting, Shreevats Goswami 59, Koushik Ghosh 46; Vikas Mishra 3/78) vs Delhi.
At Ongole: Kerala 160 (Basil Thampi 42; Shoain Md Khan 5/62) vs Andhra 57/1 (Prasanth Kumar 17; Abhishek Mohan 1/11).
At Hyderabad: Hyderabad 171 (Kolla Sumanth 51; Rituraj Singh 3/30) vs Rajasthan 2/0 (Yash Kothari 2)
At Surat: Vidarbha 142.