Sarfaraz Khan on Ranji Trophy: It's like a dream
Sarfaraz Khan thrilled to score his maiden first-class ton for Mumbai against Uttar Pradesh, whom he represented in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Sarfaraz Khan slammed an unbeaten 132 while Siddhesh Lad missed his century by two runs to help Mumbai provide a respectable response (353 for five) to Uttar Pradesh's 625 for eight declared. But Mumbai are not out of the woods in their Ranji Trophy game against the 2005-06 Ranji Trophy champions. In fact, the hosts have a long way to go as they trail by 272 runs.
Sarfaraz, who interestingly, was in the UP dressing room against Mumbai at the same venue in November 2015, registered his maiden century for Mumbai.
Though Sarfaraz's knock was laced with his trademark shots like upper cuts, on and off-drives, it was a disciplined innings played in four hours and 160 balls. The right-hander took only 107 balls to reach his second first-class ton, the first being for UP against Madhya Pradesh in 2015-16). He reached his century with an on-driven boundary off left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and celebrated by running towards the dressing room, showing quite a bit of anger, but not without kissing the lion-crested Mumbai shirt.
"It's normal. It was not to show anything to anyone," Sarfaraz said about the way he celebrated. "I was just delighted and would like to thank MCA for giving me another chance. It [century] was due for a long time. I am glad I scored my first century for Mumbai. Daddy [Naushad Khan] ko bhi khush karna tha, woh thode se naraaz hai, khafa hai [I wanted to please daddy, who is angry]," Sarfaraz said.
Though Sarfaraz did not give the impression that he regretted playing for UP in 2015-16 and 2016-17, he recalled how he cried while leaving Mumbai. "That was daddy's decision [to play for UP]. I still remember when I was leaving for UP and packing my Mumbai Ranji team's clothing, I was literally crying because of my love for Mumbai. I never thought I would play for Mumbai again. I still can't believe I came back and played for Mumbai. It's like a dream. I feel I am still sleeping," Sarfaraz remarked.
Lad played an equally vital knock and in company with Sarfaraz, gave the hosts an opportunity to bounce back in the game. Lad displayed composure and attacked as well, facing 174 balls (10x4, 1x6). He shared a 210-run stand with Sarfaraz for the fifth wicket.
Earlier, Mumbai's overnight pair of Hardik Tamore (51, 10x4) and Bhupen Lalwani (43, 5x4) countered the morning swing well, stitching a 75-run stand for the third wicket. Tamore, who was unbeaten on one on Monday, faced initial anxiety while trying to go for his shots, but grit took over. He faced 90 deliveries during his two hours, 43-minute stay at the crease. Tamore reached his maiden half-century with a cover drive off medium-pacer Wajid Ali. His end came when he was clean bowled off pacer Ankit Rajpoot's in-swinger. Unlike Tamore, Lalwani started off confidently, but Ali had him LBW with an in-swinger.
Uttar Pradesh 625-8 decl (U Yadav 203*, A Nath 115; R Dias 3-103) v Mumbai 353-5 (S Khan 132*, S Lad 98; A Rajpoot 3-63)
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