Suryakumar Yadav blazed his way to 134 to lead Mumbai’s fight back on the third day of their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy game against Saurashtra after the domestic giants conceded 73 runs first-innings lead.
After losing opener Bhupen Lalwani (3) early, Surya (134 off 130 balls, 17x4, 3x6) and Jay Bista (46) wiped out the deficit in just 16 overs to keep Mumbai in the hunt at the SCA Stadium in Khandheri.
Surya notched up his 14th first-class ton, as he played his usual aggressive game, while Bista played second fiddle. The duo added 119-runs for the second wicket and their partnership brought Mumbai back into the contention in what is a must-win game.
Surya got a life at 44 and he made optimum use of it. Mumbai went to tea at 120/1, 47 runs ahead. But two overs after tea, Bista was dismissed by left- arm spinner Parth Bhut after giving a sitter to Harvik Desai in the slip cordon.
All-rounder Shams Mulani was promoted to number four and he added 98 runs for the third wicket with Surya as Mumbai looked to gain the upper-hand. But left-arm orthodox spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, who troubled Surya, won the battle after trapping him in front of the wicket.
In-form Sarfaraz Khan joined Mulani and the two remained unbeaten when stumps were drawn with Mumbai at 285/3, extending the lead by 212 runs. Earlier, resuming at the overnight 257/6, Saurashtra overhauled Mumbai’s first-innings score of 262. A gritty unbeaten 84 by Chirag Jani helped the hosts take a 73-run first innings lead.
Jani was hit on the helmet twice, but he continued playing and his contribution was valuable. However, as the game appeared to be slipping away, the Mumbai bowlers did well to bounce back and bowled out Saurashtra for 335.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu defeated Baroda by an innings and 57 runs at Motibaug Ground in Vadodara with right-arm medium pacer K Vignesh taking a fifer in the second essay.
Due to Vignesh’s heroics with the ball, Tamil Nadu dismissed the hosts for 259 in their second innings to register an emphatic win and picked up seven points. His haul included the key wicket of captain Krunal Pandya, who made a defiant 74 (95 balls, 10 fours, 2 sixes), having him caught in the deep by substitute M Siddharth and Deepak Hooda (4).
The 25-year-old medium-pacer, who made a comeback into the team after being dropped for the match against Railways (which Tamil Nadu won comprehensively), said it was good to be back in the squad and among wickets too.
“The wicket was good and we had to really bowl well in the second innings because it slightly eased out after we batted,” Vignesh said.
Anuj ton raises slim hopes for Delhi
Wicketkeeper batsman Anuj Rawat’s stroke-filled hundred gave Delhi a slim chance of an outright win after Gujarat got the all-important first innings lead.
In reply to Delhi’s 293, Gujarat scored 335 after starting the day at 269/4 with Manprit Juneja (124, 190 balls) and Dhruv Raval (94)‘s 221-run stand for the fifth wicket proving crucial in a 42-run lead.
However left-handed Anuj, a former India U19 captain, then took the attack back to the opposition camp with a superb 133 off 194 balls that had 15 fours and two sixes. Delhi ended the day at 228 for four with a lead of 186 runs going into the final day.
While the chances of an outright win on a good batting track might not be more than 25 percent but Anuj’s innings certainly gave Delhi a glimmer of hope if they can get a lead of 275 by lunch and get 60 overs at opposition.
“That’s the plan. The wicket is good for batting but it is slightly up and down at times. But yes, bowlers need to bend their backs,” said the student of Rajkumar Sharma.
The feature of Rawat’s innings was the punch in his drives as he was severe on pacer A Nagwaswalla (1/62).
Mumbai 262 and 285 for 3 (Suryakumar Yadav 134, Shams Mulani 67*) vs Saurashtra 335 (Sheldon Jackson 85, Chirag Jani 84*, Royston Dias 4/64). Mumbai lead by 212 runs.
At Vadodara: Baroda 174 and 259 (Krunal Pandya 74; A Sheth 70; K Vignesh 5/62) vs Tamil Nadu 490/7 declared. Baroda lost by an innings and 57 runs. Tamil Nadu: 7 points, Baroda: 0 points.
At Shimoga: Karnataka 426 vs Madhya Pradesh 311/4 (Aditya Shrivastava 109*, Venkatesh Iyer 80). Madhya Pradesh trail by 115 runs.
At New Delhi (Karnail Singh Stadium): Himachal Pradesh 283 and 24/0 vs Railways 545/7 declared (Arindam Ghosh 204*, Karn Sharma 82, Mahesh Rawat 60 ; AP Vashisht 3/110, M J Dagar 3/114). Himachal Pradesh trail by 238 runs.
In Delhi: Delhi 293 and 228/4 (Anuj Rawat 133, Jonty Sidhu 48). Gujarat 335 (Manprit Juneja 124, Dhruv Raval 94).
In Jaipur: Rajasthan 241 and 201 (Nilkantha Das 4/26). Bengal 123 and (target 320) 185/4 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 62, Koushik Ghosh 64). Bengal need 135 to win.