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Ranji Trophy: Mumbai's old hands deliver!

Suryakumar Yadav strikes ton while comeback-man Vinit Indulkar hits fighting 82 to bail Mumbai out on Day One

Suryakumar Yadav’s inclusion in Mumbai’s playing XI this season often raised eyebrows. With a highest score of 63 in the league stage, it reached a point where he had to justify his selection.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav

The dashing right-hander did just that yesterday, silencing his critics with his first century of the season against arch-rivals Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final at the Wankhede Stadium.

Yadav hit 120 while comeback-man Vinit Indulkar stroked his way to 82 as Mumbai finished Day One on 306-7. Iqbal Abdulla, hero of the last match, and Zaheer Khan were batting on nine and five respectively at stumps.

Yadav was clearly relieved after scoring his first, first-class ton since January 2012. “I am delighted to get to the three figure-mark, but I wasn’t really desperate. 

Obviously, I was looking at ways of reaching a hundred, but it was important that I enjoy my batting. The 30s and 40s were not helping me. I was thinking too much about my technique before this game. My captain and coach really backed me,” Yadav said.

Like previous occasions this season, Mumbai once again found themselves in trouble when opener Kaustubh Pawar (19) and wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare (3) departed in quick succession. 

And the onus fell on senior batsman Wasim Jaffer, who looked in good nick. But the India opener, going for an unnecessary lofted shot, perished for 44 at the stroke of lunch. All-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who has a reputation of rescuing his side also departed early.

Vinit Indulkar
Vinit Indulkar celebrates his 50

Enter Yadav, who joined Indulkar at the crease with Mumbai battling at 101-4 and the combination worked well for the hosts. Indulkar, who was playing a first-class match after two years, did well to stay calm and rotated the strike with Yadav who looked solid in defence and did not shy away from punishing the loose balls.

Mumbai coach Sulkashan Kulkarni said it was important to back Yadav. “He has the game to put up a good score, but did not have the mindset to do that given his lean run. We had to make him believe in his ability and he did just that,” said Kulkarni.

The only time Yadav looked like giving it away was when he stepped out to spinner Akshay Darekar on 50.  But wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani, who is also the Maharashtra skipper, made a mess of the stumping chance.

The visitors could have had Indulkar back in the pavilion on 63 had Kedar Jadhav not dropped a catch off Chirag Khurana at slips which deflected off Motwani’s gloves.

By now, Mumbai were in counter-attack mode, scoring 80 in 12 overs before the tea interval. Yadav reached his century by tapping a wide ball outside off stump to the third man boundary. 

Just when it seemed that Mumbai had taken a firm grip of the first day’s play, Maharashtra bounced back in the last session with the new ball. Medium-pacer Anupam Sanklecha, who finished with 3-55, had Indulkar caught behind and Yadav followed soon, edging to slips off Sanklecha. 

Medium-pacer Samad Fallah, who had earlier dismissed Pawar and Nayar, got the wicket of Shardul Thakur (4). “Indulkar and I had planned to play till the end of the day. But it didn’t work out. Our tailenders can also bat. A score of 400 would be good enough on this wicket,” Yadav said. 

Scorecard: Day 1

Mumbai (1st Innings)
W Jaffer c Bawne b Mundhe....44 K Pawar c Motwani b Fallah......19
A Tare c Fallah b Sanklecha..........3 
V Indulkar c Motwani 
b Sanklecha........................................82 
A Nayar c Jadhav b Fallah.............5 
S Yadav c Khurana 
b Sanklecha.....................................120 
I Abdulla not out...............................9 
S Thakur c Khurana b Fallah........4
Z Khan not out....................................5
Extras (b 4, lb 6, w 2, nb 3) 15 Total (7 wickets; 84 overs) 306
Fall of wickets 1-35, 2-55, 3-92, 4-101, 5-284, 6-295, 7-300
Bowling: 
Samad Fallah 23-4-71-3
Anupam Sanklecha 18-4-55-3
Shrikant Mundhe 22-5-70-1 
Harshad Khadiwale 6-3-23-0 
Akshay Darekar 12-0-54-0 
Chirag Khurana 3-0-23-0 

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