Defending champions Mumbai were firmly on course for their second successive outright victory as they dismissed Punjab for a meagre 155 runs after managing 282 in their first innings and then took their overall lead to 162 runs in a group A Ranji Trophy match here today.
Left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar turned out to be an unlikely hero for Mumbai as he wreaked havoc taking career-best six for 38 in 22.5 overs as he polished the lower half of the Punjab batting with clinical precision.
At stumps on the second day, Mumbai reached 35 for no loss in their second innings and would certainly be eyeing for an outright win.
Starting the day at 207 for five, veteran Wasim Jaffer (111) scored the 49th first-class hundred of his career as Mumbai managed 282 in 91.2 overs. Jaffer faced 208 balls hitting 13 fours and a six.
Zaheer Khan (33) scored some quick runs as senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh again had a good outing taking four for 90 in 26 overs.
Harbhajan now has 13 wickets from three innings in the Ranji Trophy with one six-wicket and another four-wicket haul. He was well supported by left-arm spinner Rajwinder Singh Golu (2/74) and Yuvraj Singh (2/29).
However, the home team put up an inept batting display as they were bowled out for 155 in 63.5 overs with the lanky Dabholkar running through the lower-order. Skipper Zaheer Khan bowled 11 overs to take one for 26.
Such was the plight of Punjab batting that none of the batsmen could even cross 40 with Test discard Yuvraj Singh top-scoring with 33 that included five boundaries. He was dismissed by part-time off-spinner Surya Kumar Yadav. The only other batsman to cross 30-run mark was Amitoze Singh (31), who was bowled by Dabholkar.
The Mumbai openers scored 35 runs in their second essay at a fairly decent pace with dogged opener Kaustubh Pawar striking 21 off those runs in 28 deliveries. The opener hit four boundaries and has wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare (11 batting) for company.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 282 in 91.2 overs (Wasim Jaffer 111, Harbhajan Singh 4/90) & 35/0 (Kaustubh Pawar 21 batting) Punjab 155 in 63.5 overs (Yuvraj Singh 33, Vishal Dabholkar 6/38, Zaheer Khan 1/26).