For crusaders of bowler-friendly pitches in India, this is the place to be. The pitch and the square had a generous presence of grass and Mumbai skipper Zaheer Khan had no hesitation in asking Haryana to bat first when the defending champions began their Ranji campaign at the Bansi Lal Stadium yesterday.
Mumbai made the most of the prevailing conditions and bundled the hosts out for a mere 134, with all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, emerging the best of the bowlers with 4-38 in 10 overs.
Zaheer, who is looking to impress the national selectors before they pick the Indian team for the two Test matches against the West Indies on October 29, put up a disciplined performance as well, getting rid of the No 3 batsman Sunny Singh. He finished with 10-1-38-1.
So dominant were the visiting bowlers that Haryana were in danger of folding up below the three-figure mark. They had been reduced to 97-9 before Mohit Sharma and Ashish Hooda put up 37 for the last wicket.
Mohit, however, was unfortunate to not record a half-century as he was out for 49, trapped in front of the wicket, by left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar.
Abhimanyu Khod was the only other batsman who showed some semblance of discipline in his knock of 27. Nevertheless, he too threw away his wicket having done all the hard work, caught by Dhawal Kulkarni off Javed Khan.
The focus shifted to Sachin Tendulkar once Mumbai began their innings and it was not long before the Little Master was in the middle — with both the openers Kaustubh Pawar (8) and Wasim Jaffer (14) — returning to the pavilion with only 32 on board.
There was thunderous applause from the 8,000 spectators as Tendulkar, playing his last first-class match, walked into the centre. He started off with a lovely straight drive that went for four.
However, the excitement that was building up was short-lived as he fell to Mohit after adding only one more run. A good length delivery which pitched on the off, nipped back and the bounce did Tendulkar in.
He leaned forward to defend but the ball went through, touching his elbow on the way to disturbing the stumps. Mumbai however recovered to an extent and closed Day One on 100-4 with Ajinkya Rahane batting on 44 in the company of Dhawal Kulkarni who was on 1.
Brief scores: Haryana 134 (Mohit Sharma 49, Abhimanyu Khod 27, Abhishek Nayar 4-38) vs Mumbai 100-4 (Ajinkya Rahane 44 batting, Sachin Tendulkar 5, Mohit Sharma 2-27).