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Pravin Tambe's timely turn

The first-class debut that came after decades of waiting was turning out to be a forgettable one for Pravin Tambe as the Odisha batsmen showed little respect for the 42-year-old Mumbai leggie — one of the star performers for Rajasthan Royals in the last Champions League T20.

Pravin Tambe
Mumbai’s Pravin Tambe on Day 3 of the Ranji tie against Odisha at the Wankhede yesterday. Pics/Suresh KK

But then, at the post-tea session, a rejuvenated Tambe came out all guns blazing to give Mumbai a realistic chance of an outright win in their last Ranji Trophy Group A league match at home.

Tambe successfully dismissed both openers Govind Podder (42) and Girija Rout (43) as Odisha, bowled out for 256 in their first stint and following on in an attempt to overhaul Mumbai’s first innings score of 501-9 declared, trail the hosts by 130 runs with eight wickets in hand at the end of the penultimate day. At stumps, the visitors were 115-2 with Natraj Behera, centurion (130) of the first innings, batting on 20 and Niranjan Behera on nine.

After Mumbai’s medium-pacers Javed Khan (4-53) and Shardul Thakur (3-54) did most of the damage with the ball in the first innings, it was Tambe’s turn to prove his worth in the second outing. Nothing seemed to have worked for Tambe bowling from the Balasaheb Thackeray Press Box end in the first innings.

He bowled a predictable line and length and except for a tough catching opportunity to Sushant Marathe, Tambe didn’t trouble the visitors much. in fact, Tambe, who did not get hit for a single six in the last CLT20, found it difficult to even contain the Odisha batters. Skipper Wasim Jaffer finally took him off the attack. He went wicketless, conceding 42 runs in eight overs and a maiden, at an economy rate of 5.25 in the first innings.

Natraj Behera
Odisha’s Natraj Behera celebrates after reaching his century against Mumbai on Day Three of the Ranji tie at the Wankhede yesterday

The early part of the second innings script was no different for Tambe. The veteran leggie was again easy pickings before wicketkeeper Aditya Tare dropped a simple catch much to the disappointment of Tambe’s family members, who have been witnessing the encounter at the Wankhede throughout.

However, a change of bowling ends possibly did the trick for Tambe. He struck on the very first ball of his ninth over after tea as Tare made no mistake this time. Tambe finally got his maiden wicket and Podder was the victim. A few overs later, Tambe tempted Rout to come out of his crease only to be stumped by Tare.

He would have also got Natraj, but the umpire felt the ball went to the slip catcher off his the batsman’s pads. Tambe, who had now bowled 25 consecutive dot balls, was suddenly too hot to handle for Odisha. “I don’t know if the change of ends helped. But I was trying too hard from the other end initially.

You have to be disciplined while bowling on this track. If you bowl in the right areas with a consistent line, you will get wickets,” Tambe said dismissing the suggestion that he was under pressure to take wickets in his second innings. “There was no pressure on me to take wickets in the second innings because I did not get any in the first. You have to be patient,” he added. 

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