Mumbai had themselves to blame for not being able to take the first innings lead in the Irani Cup tie against Rest of India at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
First in the firing line was Rohit Sharma, who had a golden opportunity to get back in the reckoning for the Australia Test series and also silence his critics. All he had to do was give company to Sachin Tendulkar, who was flawless during his unbeaten 140. But the ‘gifted’ batsman played a very poor shot, much to the delight of bowler Harbhajan Singh. Sharma faced 11 balls, but was struggling to open his account. Desperate to get off the mark, Sharma deployed the slog-sweep only to get a leading edge to Pragyan Ojha positioned at midwicket for the batsman to make the mistake.
It was a one-off failure for Mumbai’s stand-in skipper Abhishek Nayar. Ranji Trophy’s second highest run-getter, Nayar (1) too departed early when it was required the most. Shuffling far too much, the southpaw played across the line only to edge one to Murali Vijay at first slip.
Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile looked solid during his 83-run knock. Rahane, along with Tendulkar, could have stolen the show for Mumbai had umpire Subroto Das not made a blunder by declaring him LBW. Sweeping from around the off, Rahane got a big inside edge onto the pads. Harbhajan straightaway went up and so did the remaining of his Rest of India teammates. And to the astonishment of many the umpire raised his finger. Rahane was undone in this crucial match that could have helped him in his selection for the Australia Test series.
These things happen
The Mumbai batsman put up a brave face when asked about it. “It happens in cricket. But I am disappointed at not scoring a hundred. In my last two matches (against England in ODIs) I got out early. So I wanted to score a big hundred in this game,” he said.
Youngsters Dhawal Kulkarni (10) and Javed Khan (8) have showed in the Ranji Trophy that they can bat, but they too holed out trying to play lofted shots.