Mumbai: Feb 9, 2013
Rest of India's Ambati Rayudu struck a potentially title winning century as his team took stumps at 296 for four. Their lead over the Ranji champions is now 413 runs with just one day to go.
Even if Mumbai bowl the Rest out early tomorrow, chasing 400-plus in a day is virtually impossible. The 40-time Ranji Trophy champions have not won the Irani Cup in more than a decade.
Rayudu shared a vital 140-run partnership with Bengal lad Manoj Tiwary (69) after the Rest were in a precarious position going into lunch. The Rest were 83 for three at lunch after Mumbai picked two quick wickets, those of S Sreesanth (18) and Murali Vijay (35) in the morning session.
Tiwary and Rayudu started their partnership on a cautious note in the first hour after lunch, before picking up the rate. Mumbai spinners Ankeet Chavan and Vishal Dabholkar were selected for special treatment by the duo as they went about finding the gaps and clearing the rope.
The Rest took tea at 200 for three with their lead at 317 runs with four sessions to play.
Mumbai left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar got rid of Tiwary soon after tea, albeit controversially.
The Bengal skipper tried to sweep Dabholkar; the ball hit the bat -- or his forearm -- according to who's version you believe. The umpire Subrat Das thought it was the former and sent Tiwary packing, much to his disbelief.
The wicket broke an important partnership for Rest of India as Suresh Raina walked in to bat. The southpaw, who had scored a century in the first innings, carried on from where he had left off as the duo thwarted Mumbai's attack.
At stumps, Rayudu was unbeaten on 118, while Raina was batting on 40. Their partnership reads 89 runs from 136 balls.
In the first seasion of the day, Vijay and night watchman Sreesanth (18) built on their overnight partnership and took the Rest's score to 60 in the first hour without any damage.
However, on the last ball of the 18th over, Sreesanth,who had batted well for his 18, was unfortunate to be run out after a fantastic direct hit from Rohit Sharma at point from a tough angle.
Immediately in the next over, Vijay, on 32, was dropped in fourth slip by substitute Kaustubh Pawar,who was on the field for Sachin Tendulkar.
Soon after, in the first over after drinks Tiwary was dropped on one by keeper Aditya Tare off an inside edge. Dhawal Kulkarni was the bowler on both occasions.
Tamil Nadu batsman Vijay, who is among the many players vying for an India spot and scored a century in the first innings, did not make the most out of his extra in the second. In the 24th over, he played a loose shot off Shardul Thakur's length delivery straight to Rohit at cover. At 67 for three, the Rest were in a precarious position.
Tiwary was then joined by Hyderabad's Rayudu in the middle. The duo resisted the sustained pressure from the Mumbai seamers till lunch and went into the break with the Rest's lead at 200 runs.
Brief Scores: Rest of India 526 and 296 for 4 (Ambati Rayudu 118*, Manoj Tiwary 69; Shardul Thakur 1 for 25) lead Mumbai 409 (Sachin Tendulkar 140*, Wasim Jaffer 80, Ajinkya Rahane 83; Harbhajan Singh 3 for 64, Abhimanyu Mithun 2 for 73) by 413 runs.
First Published: February 9, 2013, 4:42 pm