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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan at Chennai
March 29, 2004
Tamil Nadu 294 and 163 for 3 (Vidyut 70) trail Mumbai 613 (Muzumdar 146, Jaffer 133, Mane 106, Bahutule 92, Kambli 55) by 156 runs
The fourth day of the Ranji Trophy final at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai was all but dead as a contest from the off, but that didn't stop Mumbai compounding Tamil Nadu's misery by batting on for another session before finally being bowled out for 613. By the close Tamil Nadu had crawled to 163 for 3 off 59 overs, still 156 runs in arrears.
Mumbai's overnight pair of Amol Muzumdar and Sairaj Bahutule added another 50 in the first hour as Tamil Nadu, probably expecting a declaration, didn't show much intensity on the field, allowing singles almost at will. Bahutule worked it around with ease, and when the opportunity arose, tonked a few over the top. He fell eight short of his hundred when he gave a return catch to Sivaramakrishnan Vidyut (563 for 6).
Muzumdar, a model of patience throughout his innings, followed soon after when he slashed at a wide one from C Ganapathy and was caught by Dinesh Karthik (569 for 7). Muzumdar's 146 included 20 fours and a six, and he later described the innings as a very satisfying one. "One really dreams of scoring a hundred in a Ranji Trophy final," he said with a grin. "I wouldn't say its one of my best knocks, but it's special because of the occasion."
Mumbai's tailenders weren't going to give it away either. Munaf Patel and Avishkar Salvi carted a six apiece, Munaf's crashing into the roof of the Royal Sundaram stand, and Mumbai eventually reached a daunting 613. Vidyut had the solace of taking three wickets at the death, extracting some good turn and bounce, but it was an effort that came a day too late.
He had a good time with the bat as well. Opening the innings with Somasetty Suresh (36), Vidyut punched a few powerful drives into the covers. But a solid 80-run stand ended when Suresh gave a return catch to Bahutule (80 for 1), and then Sridharan Sriram (5) was stumped after being beaten behind his legs by Nilesh Kulkarni (94 for 2). Sadagoppan Ramesh, who was unable to open the innings after a bout of sickness, carved a patient 36 not out, but Mumbai had the last laugh when Vidyut was beaten in the flight by Kulkarni and stumped for 70 shortly before the close (135 for 3).
An outright victory would make life sweeter for Mumbai, but whatever happens their 36th title is now all but assured. All that's left for Tamil Nadu is salvaging some pride, and getting some runs under their belts.
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough