A responsible 145 from Mumbai's Akhil Herwadkar and three wickets off just 12 deliveries by Railways leg-spinner Karn Sharma (6-90) highlighted Day Two of the Group 'B' Ranji Trophy tie at Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
Akhil Herwadkar celebrates his century against Railways at Wankhede yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble
In reply to Railways' first innings total of 217, Mumbai rode on a 127-run third wicket partnership between Herwadkar and Shreyas Iyer, and a seventh-wicket stand of 124 between Herwadkar and Nikhil Patil to end the day with 330 for nine in the first innings.
Normally, the first hour of the day's play is helpful for bowlers, while the batsmen prefer to be cautious. However, yesterday's first hour belonged to batsmen, with Herwadkar and Iyer driving the ball easily on either side of the wicket. Herwadkar, who was unbeaten on two overnight, drove off-spinner Arnab Nandi to the long off fence for his half century yesterday.
After scoring three half centuries (58 vs UP, 67 and 58 vs Baroda) this season, he slammed his second century in first-class cricket yesterday. Leg-spinner Sharma had to change his bowling end to dismiss Herwadkar, who was caught by Arnab Nandi at first slip. He faced 220 deliveries for his 145 that comprised 15 fours and a couple of sixes.
Railways' Karn Sharma at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. The leg-spinner claimed 6-90
"I tried to stay on the wicket for as long as possible. Last season, I worked out how to play the in-swinging delivery which I had trouble with while flicking off my pads. I think it worked out beautifully," said Herwadkar.
Earlier, in-form batsman Iyer reached his fifty with the help of seven fours and a six off just 55 deliveries. However, he lost his concentration briefly and ended up edging one to 'keeper Mahesh Rawat while on 57. After the 127-run stand between Herwadkar and Iyer was broken, Mumbai lost four wickets in just 24 balls.
Nikhil Patil though played his natural game to score an unbeaten 82. Patil hit four sixes (two off Arnab Nandi and one each off Karn Sharma and Sagar Mishra) en route. Doubtless, Sharma would have been happy with his six-wicket haul.
Railways 217 (A Ghosh 67, S Mishra 46; S Thakur 4-38) trail Mumbai 330-9 (A Herwadkar 145, N Patil 82*, S Iyer 57; K Sharma 6-90) by 113 runs