Ranji Trophy: Bhargav Merai stands tall throughout the day to rescue Gujarat

Gujarat'S Bhargav Merai slammed a timely, unbeaten century (150) to make a strong comeback against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday as the visitors ended Day Three of their Ranji Trophy Group 'B' encounter with 355 for seven in response to Mumbai's 531.

Merai, who was on 41 overnight, faced 315 deliveries during for his 506-minute stay at the wicket that witnessed 11 boundaries. His pull shots and cover drives were a treat to watch.

He put on 82 with Rujul Bhatt (31) for the fourth wicket before he and international Axar Patel (88) had a 155-run stand for the sixth wicket.

"I just tried to bat as long as possible. Two years ago, I scored 198 while chasing 573 against Haryana so I had that experience to go on. I want to get a hundred against Mumbai," said Marai, who has scored 546 runs this season.

It was a significant day for former Mumbai and India all-rounder Ramesh Powar, who is playing his last first-class match. The Mumbai team gave him a guard of honour as he walked into bat when Gujarat's Rush Kalaria was dismissed by Shardul Thakur for 24.

Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit hailed pacer Thakur's four for 75. "One has to really appreciate the way Shardul bowled. He bowled with great heart. It's not an easy track," said Pandit.

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