Sulakshan isn't worried despite Mumbai top-order failure

Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni is confident that his team will grab the first-innings lead after being reduced to 70-5 on Day One; Dhawal's fifer helps bowl out Madhya Pradesh for 192

Bowling out the opponents for 192 and then being reduced to 70 for five will disappoint any coach. But Mumbai's Sulakshan Kulkarni begged to differ when this happened in Mumbai's Ranji Trophy quarter-final match against Madhya Pradesh in Indore yesterday.

Mumbai's Dhawal Kulkarni during a Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka
at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai recently. Pic/Suresh KK

"This happens sometime on a first day wicket and I am not worried at all. Now, one good partnership will help us take the first innings lead. We hope to turn things around tomorrow," Kulkarni told MiD DAY from Indore yesterday.

Sulakshan Kulkarni

The wicket, which had a tinge of grass, helped the seamers all through. Dhawal Kulkarni (5-74), Kshemal Waingankar (3-29) and Balwinder Singh Sandhu Jr (2-74) shared the spoils in the morning and then it was left to Mumbai batsmen to take the match away from Madhya Pradesh, who were shot out for 192.

But the middle-order failed miserably and Mumbai lost five quick wickets, including openers Omkar Gurav (6), Praful Wahgela (30) and captain Wasim Jaffer (1), by the close of Day One at  the Holkar Stadium.

"The wicket had a greenish look and seam bowlers had a lot to do. The fact that all 15 wickets that fell on the day went to seamers shows how the wicket behaved. Effectively, we have lost four wickets as Kshemal was sent in as a night watchman," Kulkarni said.

Medium-pacer Kulkarni was the pick of the bowlers, taking a fifer and was ably assisted by two other youngsters Waingankar and Sandhu, who according to the coach, bowled the right line and length. "Our pacers bowled exactly the way they should on a wicket like this. Dhawal has been consistent for last five years and today was no different while Kshemal and Sandhu also stepped up this season. This is a good sign for Mumbai cricket," the coach felt.

With an outright result on the cards, Mumbai would hope their lower middle-order and tail to bail them out of the tough situation. "Our lower order is quite capable of surpassing their total and then go on to win the match outright," Kulkarni was confident.

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