Shams Mulani, Aditya Tare rescue Mumbai with fighting knocks
Kishore got into the act first and picked up the first three wickets in the opening session
Chennai: Shams Mulani (87) and Aditya Tare (69, batting) raised a 155-run partnership with fighting half-centuries to help Mumbai finish the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group 'B' match against Tamil Nadu at 284 for six, here on Saturday. Electing to bat after winning the toss, the visitors were in a spot of bother as lanky left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (3/77) and ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3/58) struck at regular intervals to leave them five down. Baba Aparajith-led Tamil Nadu as Vijay Shankar was drafted into the India 'A' team for the New Zealand tour and left to join the squad.
Kishore got into the act first and picked up the first three wickets in the opening session. Ashwin was wicket-less till the lunch break but made his presence felt after the break, dismissing debutant Hardik Tamore (21) and Sarfaraz Khan (36). Khan hit two towering sixes off Kishore but miscued a cut off Ashwin to be caught by Aparajith. Earlier, Mumbai got off to a solid start as Jay Bista made a fluent 41 and put on 50 runs for the opening wicket with debutant Bhupen Lalwani (21). Bista looked good for more before Kishore got one to go in between bat and pad to disturb the stumps.
Kishore kept bowling a tight line and length and got the wickets of Lalwani and Mumbai's crisis-man Siddhesh Lad (0), caught brilliantly by Aparajith in the slips. Ashwin picked scalped Tamore and Sarfaraz to put more pressure on Mumbai. Tare, who joined Mulani in the middle started slowly and looked to play himself in. After defying Ashwin, Kishore and the rest of the Tamil Nadu attack for the rest of the middle session, they came into their own in the final session. Mulani displayed his full range of strokes and played a few attractive hooks and pulls as the host bowlers ran out of ideas.
However, Ashwin struck against the run of play, dismissing Mulani, caught by Aparajith in the slips off the penultimate ball of the day. Mulani later told reporters that the pitch was on the slower side. "I was a little patient. Just tried to play to my strengths," he said about his approach today.
Sai Kishore admitted that the team's bowlers could have bowled a lot more tight lines and lengths in the second and third sessions when Mulani and Tare got going. Meanwhile at Rajkot, India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 50th first-class century, in the match against Karnataka, thus joining an elite list of nine Indians led by Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
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