Ranji Trophy: Patient Mumbai bag crucial wicket to keep hopes alive
Mumbai scalp crucial wicket of Saurashtra's Jackson in last over of Day Two to restrict visitors to 213-5 in battle for first innings lead after captain Lad's ton
One moment can change a match. Mumbai waited for THAT moment for nearly six hours yesterday and it eventually arrived in the final over of the second day's play during their Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match against table-toppers Saurashtra at Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai pacer Minad Manjrekar kept bowling short to Sheldon Jackson, who hit a boundary on the first ball. A couple of dot balls later, Sheldon once again pulled one to the fence. Manjrekar bowled another short one on the penultimate ball of his over, but Jackson mistimed it this time and was brilliantly caught by a diving Shubham Ranjane at midwicket for 95.
Mumbai captain Siddhesh Lad celebrates his century yesterday
Jackson's was the prized wicket that Mumbai wanted, especially after having Saurashtra 37 for 3 at one stage. Jackson's 69-run stand for the fourth wicket with Arpit Vasavada (20) prevented Saurashtra from sliding further. Both captains led from the front with Mumbai skipper Siddhesh Lad (108) slamming his second consecutive century to help the hosts post 394, while Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat being the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 71.
The 107-run fifth wicket stand between Jackson and Prerak Mankad (56 not out) was threatening to put Mumbai's qualification chances for the knockout stage in jeopardy, but a wicket in the final over of the day lifted Mumbai's confidence after having restricted Saurashtra to 213 for 5, trailing by 121 runs, at stumps.
Saurashtra's Sheldon Jackson en route his 95 yesterday
"Sheldon's wicket at the end has given us a big boost. If he would have been there tomorrow, we would have to push a bit extra. We have the upper hand now," said Royston Dias, who claimed 2 for 32.
About bowling short to Jackson in the final over, Dias said: "Sheldon was trying to hit it [short balls]. So, we knew, one mishit or one bad shot [would get him out]. That's what finally worked. He hit us for a couple of boundaries, but when he mishit, we got his wicket." Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak was disappointed with the way Jackson got out. "It happens in the heat of the moment.
It was unnecessary [and quite] disappointing. He applied himself well, especially after we were three down. He played a good knock, but there was no need [to play that shot]," lamented Kotak.
The good bounce on the Wankhede track aided lanky Mumbai pacer Dias. The extra bounce led to Saurashtra opener and their top run-getter of the season, Harvik Desai (17) nicking one to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare in the ninth over of their innings.
Two overs later, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (3) was done in by the bounce that went straight to Vikrant Auti at short leg at the stroke of lunch break [Saurashtra 27 for 2]. Five overs into the second session, Manjrekar got rid of Saurashtra's other opener Snell Patel (12) with a superb reflex catch by the bowler. Vasavada and Jackson helped Saurashtra recover before the former was caught behind off Shivam Dube (1-18).
Saurashtra started off the day's proceedings with the second new ball and were immediately rewarded with the wickets of Dube (39), Akash Parkar (6) and Tanush Kotian (1) - all dismissed in the space of seven overs.
Skipper Lad decided to steer Mumbai out of danger as he slammed three consecutive boundaries off Chetan Sakariya to bring up his eighth first-class century. However, Mumbai could add only 60 runs to their overnight score of 334 for 5.
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