The Mumbai versus Jammu & Kashmir Ranji Trophy opener at the Wankhede Stadium hangs in the balance after the penultimate day’s play yesterday.
Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav en route his 114 against J&K at Wankhede yesterday. Pic/ATUL Kamble
The match has the potential to swing any way. Mumbai did well to post 253 after being 66-4 overnight and set a target of 236 for J&K. The visitors were 58-1 at stumps, needing 178 more to win, after surviving a few close calls.
Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav led from the front and slammed a 158-ball 114. During his mature innings, he did not hit a single ball over the fence which would have also silenced his critics. One of the major criticisms the 24-year-old has faced is that of throwing away his wicket. But yesterday he put a price to it.
He played sensibly and hit all his shots along the ground. Night watchman Dhawal Kulkarni (37) held one end up and provided excellent support to his skipper. The duo together stitched a 151-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Kulkarni’s resistance was finally broken when he edged an Umar Nazir delivery to Bandeep Singh at second slip.
A couple of deliveries later, Yadav departed in a similar way and Mumbai lost their way from there on. J&K vice-captain Ram Dayal (5-75) and partner Nazir (4-94) were rewarded for being consistent in their line and length.
“Two wickets in quick succession jolted us. But one of the biggest positives was Yadav’s innings. He took responsibility and handled the pressure well. He curbed his instincts.
Yesterday, I had told him that it was not necessary to play big shots against the spinners. I am glad he understood my point really well and played accordingly. Even though Dhawal hit two sixes (off Parvez Rasool), Yadav was not tempted to go for the big shots,” Mumbai coach Pravin Amre said.
Amre said the team would go all out against J&K today. “We have no other option. We have conceded the first innings lead. We will attack from the beginning and go for wickets,” he said.
Veteran batsman Wasim Jaffer displayed exemplary commitment to Mumbai when he came out to bat despite a broken finger.
The former India opener suffered a hairline finger fracture on his right hand on Monday while fielding at slip.
One expected Mumbai's second innings to end when Shardul Thakur departed for 13, but Jaffer walked into bat amidst a huge roar from a small Wankhede crowd.
Jaffer played a beautiful cut shot for a four and remained unbeaten after Vishal Dabholkar was dismissed on seven.
"Jaffer was exceptional. Our score would have been much more had he been fully fit in the second innings," rued Amre.