Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group A: Mumbai gain upper-hand over Saurashtra

Table-toppers Saurashtra and former champions Mumbai were involved in a keen tussle for a first-innings lead on Day 2 of their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

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Saurashtra bowled out Mumbai for 394 in the first innings in the morning and then replied with 213 for five at close, still adrift of the home team’s total by 181 runs after weathering an early collapse that saw them slump to 37 for three.

Mumbai struck in the final over by picking up the wicket of Saurashtra’s experienced batsman Sheldon Jackson, who was out five short of a well-deserved century after facing 144 balls in which he hit eight fours and three sixes.

At stumps, Prerak Mankad (56 in 106 balls) was at the crease after putting on a stand of 107 runs for the fifth wicket with Jackson who was dismissed by Minad Manjrekar off the penultimate ball of the 65th over. Dias and Manjrekar shared four wickets with allrounder Dube picking up the other Saurashtra wicket to fall.

In the morning, Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat and his new-ball partner Chetan Sakariya polished off the bottom-half of the Mumbai first innings for 60 runs in 18 overs after Mumbai resumed at the overnight 334 for 5.

Unadkat summoned the second new ball straightaway in the morning and provided the important breakthrough by dismissing overnight unbeaten batsman Dube (39). The Mumbai allrounder had added just five to his last evening score when he fell that broke the stubborn sixth-wicket stand between him and skipper Siddesh Lad, unbeaten on 84 overnight, after the addition of 112 runs.

Sakariya took out Akash Parkar, while Unadkat got rid of Tanush Kotian in successive overs to leave Mumbai at 362 for 8. Lad completed his well-deserved century but was the ninth batsman out for 108, falling to Sakariya, after facing 146 balls and hitting 1 six and 16 fours.

Unadkat trapped last man Manjrekar LBW to terminate the Mumbai innings with Roystan Dias unbeaten on 20. The left-arm fast bowler grabbed 4 for 71, while fellow left-arm pacer Sakariya and left-arm spinner Dharmendra Jadeja picked up three wickets apiece.

Dias, with his left-arm medium pace, then brought cheers to the Mumbai ranks by striking twice in successive overs to pack off Saurashtra opener Harvik Desai and no. 3 Vishvaraj Jadeja. Another medium-pacer, Manjrekar picked up a fine return catch to dismiss Snell Patel to leave the visitors tottering at 37 for three.

Saurashtra’s mainstay Jackson and Arpit Vasavada (20) stemmed the rot with a stand of 69 when the latter chased a wide ball from Dube and nicked to keeper Aditya Tare. Jackson, playing fluently till he was hampered by hamstring trouble, and Prerak Mankad, who has hit 10 fours, held the Mumbai hopes at bay with a stubborn partnership till the former departed in the last over to provide Mumbai a shot in the arm going into Day 3 of the four-day match.

Brief scores: Saurashtra 213 for 5 (Sheldon Jackson 95, Prerak Mankad not out 56; Minad Manjrekar 2 for 46) trail Mumbai 394 (Jay Bista 127, Siddesh Lad 108, Jaydev Unadkat 4 for 71) by 181 runs.