Ranji Trophy: Centurion Karn Sharma has Mumbai in trouble

Updated: Dec 27, 2019, 07:53 IST | SS Ramaswamy | Mumbai

Karn Sharma, who came in at No. 7 with his side tottering at 43-5, made an unconquered 112 off 146 balls.

Railways skipper Karn Sharma in full flight on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy tie against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday
Railways skipper Karn Sharma in full flight on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy tie against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday

Skipper Karn Sharma led from the front by notching up only his second century in his 12-year first-class career as Railways took firm control of the Ranji Trophy league game against hosts Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

Karn, who came in at No. 7 with his side tottering at 43-5, made an unconquered 112 off 146 balls. The Meerut-born left handed batsman struck four sixes—all off left arm spinner Shams Mulani, who finished wicketless after his 10-wicket match haul against Baroda in the previous game—and 13 fours in his 228-minute essay that commenced in the afternoon.

Crucial partnerships
Karn, who had scored 120 against Jammu and Kashmir on his debut in the championship way back in 2007, also stitched crucial stands of 116 for the sixth wicket in 199 balls with Arindam Ghosh (72), the other unbeaten batsman for Railways on Wednesday evening when play was called off early due to bad light when the visitors were 116-5, and 85 in 78 balls for the seventh wicket with Avinash Yadav, who made 34.

Thanks in large measure to these two partnerships, Railways replied to the hosts' paltry score of 114 with 266 in 74.1 overs, a handy lead of 152. Mumbai, put on the back foot by these two big partnerships, were pushed further into the hole in the second essay by the Railways pace bowling attack. The 41-time champions ended the extended final session, to make up for loss of play in the first session that commenced at 11:30 am instead of the usual 9:30 am because of solar eclipse in the morning, at a difficult 64-3 in 22 overs.

Mumbai still behind
Mumbai were 88 runs behind with Ajinkya Rahane (3 off 45 balls) and captain Suryakumar Yadav (15 off 38 balls) dourly defending at both ends and face an uphill task on the last two days of the four-day game.

The batsmen out in the Mumbai second dig were Jay Bista (13), Prithvi Shaw (23), and Siddhesh Lad (8). Bista and Lad were caught off edges while Shaw, who made 12 in the first innings, tried an ill-advised almighty heave and skied to mid-on.

Mumbai pacers Tushar Deshpande claimed 4-44 while Deepak Shetty bagged 3-35. Speedster Akash Parkar finished with 2-41 but pacer Shardul Thakur was wicketless after conceding 80 runs along with Mulani (0-38).

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