Ranji Trophy: Mumbai lad Jai Bista scores ton put team ahead at 334
Mumbai opening batsman thrives on unexpected comeback to score a ton; hosts well placed at 334 for five in must-win game against Saurashtra
With scores of 27, 6, 8 and 0 in his last four innings, opener Jay Bista was shown the door by Mumbai selectors for their next Ranji Trophy match against Baroda. After missing out on one game, the bespectacled opener was provided another opportunity for Mumbai's must-win Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match against Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday and he did not waste the godsent chance.
'Glad to make it count'
On the eve of his 23rd birthday, Bista slammed his fourth first-class century as Mumbai finished Day One on 334-5. It wasn't an opportunity Bista was expecting. "If I were the captain, I wouldn't have given myself another chance. So, I knew this was the last chance for me and I am glad I could make it count," Bista said after his 127-run knock.
Mumbai couldn't have asked for a better start after being put into bat with Bista and Vikrant Auti putting up a 174-run stand - their first century opening stand of the Ranji season. If Auti preferred a cautious approach, Bista chose to play his natural, aggressive game. With the pitch having good bounce, the Mumbai openers played cautiously against Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat, who conceded just five runs in his first five overs. In his second spell, he conceded just eight runs in three overs. Bista, however, did not spare the rest of Saurashtra's attack. Medium pacer Chetan Sakariya was taken to the cleaners, conceding 30 runs in his first three overs.
Saurashtra tried to pack Bista's off side, but the bespectacled batsman still managed to find gaps at will. He reached his half century off 63 balls with a crisp cover drive. He accelerated a bit to get his next 50 runs in just 53 balls.
Bista went back to his first coach Vinod Raghavan to work on his grip after being dropped. "I tried to make a minor change with regard to the grip, but somehow it didn't work. We worked on reverting to the basics," he said.
Raghavan said he only fine-tuned the batsman's bottom-hand grip. "It is dangerous to change any technique in the middle of the season. I just fine-tuned his grip a bit. There wasn't anything wrong with his grip, but when runs don't come, several doubts creep in. I just gave him self-belief and we did some match simulation sessions which helped build his confidence," Raghavan told mid-day.
Bista's push-ups celebration, a-la former Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, and then showing off his arms, was not something the Mumbai opener wanted to talk about in public, but his batting prowess was there for all to see.
Such was his dominance that when Mumbai headed into the lunch break at 122-0, Bista's contribution was 95 runs while Auti had scored 25. Nine overs into the second session, Saurashtra managed to break the opening stand when Bista stepped out to left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja only to mistime it and hole out in the extra cover region for 127 (21 fours).
Three overs later, Unadkat's hard work was rewarded with Auti's wicket - caught behind by Snell Patel for 57. It sparked off a mini collapse as Mumbai lost their next four wickets for 41 runs. In that period, Jadeja added two more wickets [Shreyas Iyer and Aditya Tare] to his kitty as the pitch suddenly started aiding spin bowling. Better application from the batsmen was required which is what skipper Siddhesh Lad (84 batting) and Shivam Dube (34 batting) did during their unbeaten 102-run partnership for the sixth wicket. The partnership helped Mumbai's ship from sinking.
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