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Ranji Trophy: Siddhesh Lad's sweet taste of success

Following a strict diet plan that included boiled and oil-free food pays off for Siddhesh Lad as he slams 150 to rescue Mumbai from 52-5; Vishal Dabholkar reduces Tamil Nadu to 73-7

There are sacrifices aplenty that a sportsperson make to raise the bar. Mumbai batsman Siddhesh Lad chose probably the hardest one… tasty food. Well aware that this could be a crucial season for him if he has to make it in the big league, Lad followed a strict diet plan that included boiled and oil-free food. So strong was his determination that Lad was not tempted to tuck into the delicacies on offer during his sister's wedding reception a few months ago.

Mumbai's Siddhesh Lad watches the ball sail over the fence at the BCK ground on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Mumbai's Siddhesh Lad watches the ball sail over the fence at the BCK ground on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Lad's sacrifices paid rich dividends on Saturday as he slammed a 184-ball 150 (16x4, 7x6), rescuing Mumbai from 52-5 to post 294 in the first innings of their third 2015-16 Ranji Trophy game against Tamil Nadu. His heroics, though, could not help Mumbai surpass Tamil Nadu's 434.

Fitter and stronger
"Being part of Mumbai Indians last season, I watched how disciplined my seniors are. "I am trying to follow whatever they do and it is helping me a lot. I feel a lot fitter and stronger now," Lad told SUNDAY mid-day.

Though Mumbai conceded the first innings lead, the game is still very much alive with the spirited hosts grabbing seven wickets in the last 116 minutes of the penultimate day's play. Tamil Nadu were 73-7 at stumps, enjoying an overall lead of 213.

Left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar was once again the star for Mumbai, claiming 5-41 in 13 overs. He sent back internationals Murali Vijay (29) and Dinesh Karthik (0), the first innings centurion.

"There was nothing much in the wicket, but Vishal bowled exceptionally well. He was spinning the ball a lot," said Lad, while assessing the conditions. Lad said the positive attitude of coach Chandrakant Pandit got them pumped up. "He (Pandit) was not sad that we conceded the first innings. He was cheering us up and motivated us to do better in our second opportunity," said Lad about Mumbai's comeback with the ball.

Mumbai recover
Tamil Nadu pacer M Mohammad Salim (5-86) made most of the morning freshness of the BKC pitch to claim three wickets (Shrideep Mangela 20, Suryakumar Yadav 4 and Aditya Tare 0) in the span of 15 balls. However, Lad and Dhawal Kulkarni put together a sterling show to help Mumbai recover. Their 103-run sixth wicket partnership was finally broken after Kulkarni was caught at short mid-wicket for 39 in the second over after lunch.

Lad, however, carried on his attacking show against the TN bowlers. He used his feet well against the spinners and the straight six off Malolan Rangarajan was one of his standout shots during his 273-minute knock.

Lad seemed to be batting in a zone. He realised that he reached his hundred only when someone from the dressing room cheered his smashing cover drive off Rahil Shah. He didn't even know when he reached 150. Few balls later, he offered a simple catch to the extra cover fielder, thus bringing an end to his near-flawless innings.
"I wanted to go for my shots since there were only a couple of balls left in the over. Unfortunately, it went straight to the fielder," Lad rued.

Brief scores
Tamil Nadu 434 & 73-7 (M Vijay 29, M Rangarajan 15*; V Dabholkar 5-41) lead Mumbai 294 (S Lad 150, D Kulkarni 39; M Mohammed 5-86, R Shah 3-78) by 213 runs

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