Mumbai: The Ranji Trophy Group A cricket match between Mumbai and J&K was evenly poised at the end of the third day's play with the visitors finishing on 58 for one while chasing a modest target of 237 on a wearing track at the Wankhede Stadium here today.
Jammu and Kashmir, who are meeting the 40-time champions for the first-time ever in the tournament, require just 179 more runs on the final day with nine wickets in hand to cause a major upset in the beginning of the tournament. But the wearing wicket here would give Mumbai a great chance to stop their rivals from scoring an upset win.
At stumps on day three, first innings centurion Shubham Khajuria (34) and Bandeep Singh (11) were at the crease.
J&K had taken the first innings honours by grabbing a small lead of 18 runs over the hosts, who, however, batted well in the morning session from a shaky 66 for four to cross the 200-run mark before losing a clutch of wickets to be all out for 254.
Captain Suryakumar Yadav, unbeaten last evening on 17 with night watchman Dhawal Kulkarni (1), played a responsible innings to score his fifth first class century and fourth in the tournament.
Yadav, who threw away his wicket after reaching his half-century in the Mumbai first innings, made 115 in just under four hours off 158 balls and with 18 fours. He received fine support from pace Mumbai spearhead Kulkarni, as the duo slowly and steadily pulled the home team out of the woods with a stand of 152 runs in 204 minutes for the fifth wicket.
But once the combination was broken by Umar Nazir, who had Kulkarni edge to the second slip, one of the four wickets he took in the innings, the Mumbai innings fell apart. It deepened when Yadav was caught in similar fashion off the same bowler -- his seventh wicket of the game.
Injured Wasim Jaffer remained unbeaten with four after batting at no. 11.
Nazir's new ball partner Ram Dayal then polished off the tail to return impressive figures of five for 76 in the second innings and eight for 127 in the match.
J&K batted sedately in the run-chase, but lost the wicket of opener Adil Reshi to Shardul Thakur.
Mumbai: 236 & 254 (Suryakumar Yadav 115, Dhawal Kulkarni 37; Ram Dayal 5/76, Umar Nazir 4/49).
J&K: 254 & 58 for one in 87 overs (Shubham Khajuria 34 batting, Bandeep Singh 11 batting).