Ranji Trophy: Sarfaraz day at Wankhede!

Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 07:41 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

Kurla boy Sarfaraz Khan becomes only the seventh Mumbai batsman to score a Ranji triple ton and helps hosts secure three points.

Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his triple century against Uttar Pradesh on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his triple century against Uttar Pradesh on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Your side have lost five batsmen. The team's total is 353. The opposition have scored 625. You are running a temperature. Grit takes over and you score a triple ton. It only proves Mumbai's Sarfaraz has class and it...

Sarfaraz Khan was the toast of the Wankhede Stadium for the second day on the trot. After scoring his maiden first-class century for Mumbai on Tuesday, the stocky batsman went on to achieve his first triple century—an unbeaten 301 (30x4, 8x6)—which helped Mumbai take the first-innings lead against Uttar Pradesh and earn the much-needed three points in a Ranji Trophy Group B match.

Mumbai responded to Uttar Pradesh's 625-8 declared in great style by posting 688-7 declared. Siddhesh Lad's 98, skipper Aditya Tare's 97 and Shams Mulani's 65 were other vital contributions for Mumbai.

However, all eyes were on Sarfaraz as he became the seventh Mumbai batsman to score a triple ton in Ranji Trophy. His triple ton provided the eighth instance of a Mumbai batter scoring 300-plus runs in the national championship. Resuming the fourth and final day on 132, Sarfaraz reached 150 in 189 balls during the first hour. He then took 14 balls to surpass his highest first-class score of 155 (for UP v MP in 2015-16) with a mistimed pull shot off medium-pacer Wajid Ali.

Cautious approach

Sarfaraz, who had batted with relative ease, suddenly adopted a cautious approach in the second session, hitting only one boundary in his 26 that helped him reach his double ton. He acknowledged his teammates and his father-cum-coach Naushad, who was seated in the MCA Pavilion.

Sarfaraz was ecstatic when he reached 261 with a single to the cover region as the hosts took the innings lead. While one expected him to exult after scoring his triple century, he simply went down on his knees and celebrated the feat after dispatching off-spinner Rinku Singh for a six over the long-on fence.

'Wanted to retire after 250'

Sarfaraz, who faced 391 balls during his 633-minute marathon knock, revealed he was thinking of retiring after scoring 250. "I didn't think I would go all the way [till the end], but I thought it would be good for the team if I took it as deep as I could. I was tired during tea time. I thought, yaar ab bas ho gaya [it's enough now]. When I got to 250, at that time too I felt it is enough, I should declare [retire], but the team backed me a lot," he said.

Another remarkable aspect of Sarfaraz's knock was that he could go the distance despite being ill. "I wasn't going to come out to bat. Adu bhai [Tare] was going to come in my place. I had fever and a cough. I wasn't well for the past two to three days, but I felt that I should go out and bat. I felt I was the kind of player who could change the game if I stayed in the middle. So, I came out and played for the team," he said.

Skipper Tare lauds 'mature' Sarfaraz

Mumbai captain Aditya Tare felt Sarfaraz Khan is a more matured cricketer now. "I used to feel he was not up there in red-ball cricket when he was with us four years ago. But he has worked really hard on his batting. What I have noticed is a better head on his shoulders. He was very young so he used to play a lot more shots then. He has matured a bit now," Tare remarked.

Triple tons for Mumbai

Sanjay Manjrekar (377 v Hyderabad in 1990-91)
Vijay Merchant (359* v Maharashtra in 1943-44)
Sunil Gavaskar (340 v Bengal in 1981-82)
Ajit Wadekar (323 v Mysore in 1966-67)
Wasim Jaffer (314* in 1996-97 and 301 in 2008-09, both against Saurashtra)
Rohit Sharma (309* v Gujarat in 2009-10)
Sarfaraz Khan (301* v UP in 2019-20)

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