Mumbai: Dec 21, 2011
Debutant medium pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) bagged five wickets but Mumbai let Punjab off the hook as the visitors rode on number seven batsman Bipul Sharma's half century to post 226 on the opening day of their concluding Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match on Wednesday.
Sandhu swung the ball both ways right through the day to finish with fine figures of five for 66 and was well-supported by fellow seamer Kshemal Waingankar (3/80), but the hosts failed to tighten the noose around the visitors after having them reeling at 91 for six at lunch at the Wankhede Stadium.
Sharma made 68 in six minutes over three hours. He struck five fours and three sixes in his 164-ball essay to help Punjab to a total that looked beyond them when they were 0 for 2 and then 87 for six just before lunch.
At stumps, Mumbai had replied with 22 for no loss with openers Kaustubh Pawar (5) and Praful Waghela (12) at the crease.
The dismissal of Punjab's batting mainstay of the season Mayank Siddhana for 34, caught in the leg trap off off Ramesh Powar at the stroke of lunch, left only the lower order to rally them around and Bipul did it with support from the tail.
Mumbai also missed the presence of Avishkar Salvi who suffered a side strain after bowling just nine balls and dismissing opener Sarul Kanwar for a duck off the second ball.
The lanky medium pacer was off the field for the rest of the day and is unlikely to play any further part in the match, according to Mumbai Cricket Association sources.
To make matters worse for the home team was the groin injury sustained by wicketkeeper and opener Sushant Marathe who fell to the ground after leaping high to his left to try and stop a bouncer from Waingankar. He too is doubtful for the rest of the four-day tie.(PTI)