Irani Trophy 2013: Sachin Tendulkar reaches half-century but Mumbai lose four wickets at Lunch

Sachin Tendulkar remains unbeaten on 59 © AFP

Mumbai: Feb 8, 2013

Rest of India skipper Harbhajan Singh picked two quick wickets before lunch to peg Mumbai back at 255 for five n the Irani Trophy.

Mumbai were looking good with Sachin Tendulkar and Ajinkya Rahane sharing a good fourth-wicket partnership, but Harbhajan made the most of a dubious call from the umpire and a brash inexperienced stroke to put his team back on top.

Night watchman Shardul Thakur (4) did his job of keeping Tendulkar safe overnight, but he was gone the first all he faced in the morning. Ishwar Pandey‘s away moving delivery found Thakur’s edge that went flying to Manoj Tiwary at gully.

Thakur’s wicket was welcomed by loud cheers from the Mumbai crowd, which could only mean Tendulkar was the next man in.

The homeboy obliged the few hundred loyal fans present at the Wankhede by opening his account with a crisp hit through the covers for four.

Rest of India opened the bowling with S Sreesanth and Pandey, both of whom maintained a good line outside off stump.

Sreesanth, who is trying his best to impress the watching selectors, engaged Tendulkar in a fascinating duel.

The duo clearly have a history between them and the Kerala pacer added spice to it by trying to bounce Tendulkar out. The little master tried one or two of this trademark upper cuts, but failed to connect.

Tendulkar brought up the fifty of the partnership by emulating his earlier drive through the covers. Mumbai needed these two to deliver and after manoeuvring a testing first spell fro Pandey and Sreesanth, the duo upped the run flow.

After Rahane had swatted Pragyan Ojha for the first six of the morning over the deep midwicket fence, Tendulkar joined in and hit the India left-arm spinner for a straight six and a gentle push to the long-off fence.

Captain Harbhajan had had enough by now and brought himself in with the score on 226 for three in 62 overs. In only his second over, he got Rahane leg-before to what replays showed was a clear inside edge.

This brought an end to a 73-run partnership and perhaps Rahane’s chances of opening the batting for India at Chennai against Australia.

Meanwhile, Tendulkar brought up his half-century by slogging Harbhajan over deep midwicket. The Wankhede crowd, which was swelling by the minute as news of Tendulkar batting spread, went wild.

New man in Rohit Sharma tried the same in Harbhajan Singh’s next, but could only find a top edge that
ballooned up in the air and was caught by Ojha at deep midwicket.

Tendulkar would have been furious with the way Rohit threw his wicket away. With a couple of overs to go before lunch, the brashness was unnecessary.

Brief Scores: Rest of India 526 (Suresh Raina 134, Murali Vijay 116; Ankeet Chavan 3 for 56, Abhishek Nayar 2 for 70) lead Mumbai 255 for 5 (Wasim Jaffer 80, Ajinkya Rahane 83, Sachin Tendulkar 59*; Ishwar Pandey 2 for 49, Harbhajan Singh 1 for 40) by 271 runs.