Vidharbha wilt, Mumbai on brink of victory
Barring their win against Haryana, Vidarbha have had little to cheer about in the current Ranji Trophy season. For, even though their batsmen excelled against Odisha and Karnataka, the team's eventual performance was not enough to prevent their opponents from walking away with the first innings lead.
And sadly for the team that’s playing domestic giants Mumbai here for the first time in the tournament, their batsmen failed at the Wankhede in the course of two innings ensuring that the hosts will wrap up the game on Sunday morning. Vidarbha finished Day Three on 177-8, still trailing Mumbai by a whopping 352 runs with only two wickets in hand.
One expected a better show from the visitors in the second innings, but that was not to be as Zaheer Khan & Co struck at regular intervals to leave them staring at their second outright defeat in five games.
Left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar was the most successful bowler, claiming 2-21 in seven overs, but it was the pace bowling trio of Zaheer (1-17), Akbar Khan (1-44) and Shardul Thakur
(2-46) that inflicted the maximum damage. All-rounder Abhishek Nayar and part-timer Suryakumar Yadav chipped in with a wicket each.
Vidarbha’s best batsman, opener Faiz Fazal, who has two centuries to his credit this season, failed for the second time in the match when Zaheer had his middle stump uprooted on the fifth ball of the first over of their innings.
There was little resistance from the visitors thereafter, and had it not been for a modest partnership of 73 between skipper Shalabh Shrivastava (69 runs, 15x4) and veteran former India batsman Hemang Badani (19, 2x4), Vidarbha would well have lost the game inside three days.
Shrivastava showed the fighting spirit that was lacking in his other teammates before he got out to Dabholkar, caught at first slip by Zaheer. Shrikanth Wagh then unleashed a flurry of strokes to stay unbeaten on 34, but given their current situation, that knock will count for nothing.
Earlier, Mumbai took to the field determined to extend their lead beyond 500, and that’s how the script played out as the overnight unbeaten batsmen Aditya Tare and Ajinkya Rahane went on to score 172 and 133 respectively. They put on 260 runs for the second wicket.
Resuming on 110, Mumbai wicketkeeper Tare added 62 runs while Rahane, warmed up magnificently for the upcoming tour to South Africa, adding 71 to the 62 he had scored on Friday.
Hard-hitting batsman Suryakumar Yadav, who of late, has struggled to find his feet, too joined the party, managing 49 off only 29 balls before Zaheer declared the innings at 381-4.
Brief scores: Vidarbha 113 and 177-8 (S Shrivastava 69, Shrikant Wagh 34*; V Dabholkar 2-21) vs Mumbai 261 and 381-4 decl (A Tare 172, A Rahane 133, S Yadav 49*; R Jangid 2-88)