Mumbai v Rest of India, Irani Cup, Mumbai, 1st day February 6, 2013

Vijay leads Rest of India with a hundred


Rest of India 330 for 5 (Vijay 116, Dhawan 63) v Mumbai
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The competition for batting spots for the upcoming Test series against Australia appears to have grown tougher with Murali Vijay scoring a stylish century against Mumbai on the opening day of the Irani Cup. A prominent shade of green on the Wankhede Stadium pitch prompted Mumbai's stand-in captain Abhishek Nayar to bowl first, but it eased out considerably and the bowlers didn't help themselves by providing ample scoring opportunities to a combative Rest of India top and middle order.

Virender Sehwag wasn't among them, out due to an upset stomach at a time when a stint in the middle after being dropped from the ODI series against England would have helped, but Rest of India had enough ammunition to dominate the Mumbai bowling for the bulk of the day and post 330 for 5 at stumps.

Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a testing first spell and Nayar proved the best of the Mumbai bowlers, his third spell of nine overs spread across two sessions fetching two wickets, and though they tried hard - Kulkarni extracted some unsettling movement early on and Nayar got the ball to reverse - they lacked support as the Rest of India batsmen pierced the field consistently, approached their innings with confidence, and scored freely.

India's selection panel, including Sandeep Patil, the chief selector, was present at the venue and Vijay didn't take long to make an impression, shrugging off his initial rustiness against the moving ball with a couple of lovely punches off Javed Khan. The shots were infused with a timing that had deserted Vijay through the Ranji season in which he had managed a highest score of just 42. As in the Ranji Trophy final, Shardul Thakur was off the mark and Vijay took him for three boundaries in an over, driving him through mid-off, imparting enough force through his wrists to flick him away past midwicket and standing tall to punish him when he bowled short.

The left-arm orthodox pair of Vishal Dabholkar and Ankeet Chavan found little assistance, and the bulk of the responsibility fell on an inexperienced pace attack led by Kulkarni in the absence of Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan. There were several half-volleys on offer, so were short balls, with adequate width for both openers to open up. Vijay feasted on a generous dose of scoring opportunities through the off side, but survived a caught-behind chance on 79 as Thakur overstepped. He drove him for four before slashing Kulkarni for six, then punching him through midwicket to raise his century - almost five months ago, he smashed 266 in the season opener, an Irani Cup tie against Rajasthan, his last major contribution.

Vijay's opening partner Shikhar Dhawan will feel he missed out, having built a century stand, after looking especially strong through the V and being severe against anything pitched short. But his innings was cut short when he reached out to drive Thakur, only to get an inside edge and lose his off stump. Likewise with another Test aspirant, Manoj Tiwary, who drove soundly through the covers and even, still relatively early in his innings, walked well across to flick Javed to the boundary. But he tried that once too often, to be trapped in front by Nayar when on 37, standing his ground in disbelief long after the umpire had raised his finger.

Even after Nayar managed to break through Vijay's defences after tea, two other contenders, Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina, ensured the innings retained its tempo. Thakur leaked more runs, Rayudu went past 5000 runs in first-class cricket during an attacking half-century and Raina targeted the left-arm spinners, stepping out to Chavan to launch him for six. Rayudu wasn't as comfortable against spin, and edged Rohit Sharma to slip, another Rest of India batsman who would, presumably, have fallen short of his own expectations in front of some key decision-makers ahead of a big Test series.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adithya on February 7, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @28041991,what abt u friend,it seem u also don't watch indian cricket much.....haven't u seen the dismissals of RAHANE in eng series,like may indian batsmen he too doesn't have good technique.....same case with tiwary who doesn't even have courage to play against quick bowlers...when there is no swing irfan pathan is more easy to hit than anyone and look i'm not going to talk abt nayar......cricinfo pls publish......

  • vishwas on February 7, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    even though i cant watch this match live, but based on the comentry in cricinfo , i can tell these two ( WASIM JAFFR, RAHANE ) are playing really good cricket. aiding with the bad captaincy from harbajan...... i think selectors should look at any one of these 2 players.... ofcourse they dont favor both... but my preference is for Wasim jaffer for opening slot.... UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT INDIAN TEAM IS RIGHT NOW , main problem is opening partnerships.... so jaffer is experienced , he may help india atleast he can do for quite a while until we can groom young opener......

  • Amit on February 7, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Why not Wassim Jaffer on basis of one innings Murli vijay cant be picked Wassim Jaffer still has some GOOD cricket left in him. With 9155 Ranji runs that too he is the most runs in Ranji Trophy Wasim has to in opener of India against Aussies.

  • vishwas on February 7, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    @Muhammad Aami they dont have record because they dint get any chances to make records......probably you dont watch indian cricket too much i think... can you tell me how may odi's rahane and tiwary got?????? and how may chances did Rohit sharma , rahane, tiwary got????? answer is none.... what can they do if they were made to be seated in Bench....

    and if one is in team since 2007 doesnt mean that they got chance to bat..... what a waste of comment......

  • vishwas on February 7, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @TM what india need in this current situation is perfect bowlers who can take wickets with good strike rate....over the [ast decade only batsmen did the 75% job for india... now its time we find new batsmen to replce the greats... and what ashwin's role is a strike bowler.. thats why i think he opened the bowking in many occasions in england test....he needs to perform in ranji first... i hav never heard his name in ranji before... not as many times as ojah.... and more over he lacks patience, IPL effect may be.... one or two ranji seasons and he will learn the test bowling skills.....

    and i am impressed with JADEJA's bolwing in last test , not with any of ashwins bowling... only middle and leg stump line wont help in test.....

  • James on February 7, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    If Vijay gets any more chances based on this performance, Abhishek Nayar should also get more chances as a bowler. In other words, Viyay's batting may only be as good as Nayar's bowling. Now Raina has also scored a century against a weak bowling.

    Yes, Gambhir and Sehwag need to be discarded. But that does not mean that we include sub-standard guys like Vijay in his place. The selectors missed a trick in ignoring Jiwanjot.Other unsung heroes of the Ranj- like Jalaj Saxena or CM Gautam could also have been tried out now (Gautam on curent performances in batting is miles ahead of Saha or Parthiv, or the often cited Dinesh Karthik), . Rayudu definitely deserves a try in Australian condititions- as along with Pujara, he is one of the new guys with a good technique.

  • Turan on February 7, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    @28041991 i think that we should give ashwin a chance as i believe with some good coaching he can become a very good spinner, one who averages around 25, plus he can bat people forget he averages 45

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    For those who say tiwary ,rahane and rohit r still good for india team i think you guys don't watch too much of cricket .....tiwary and rohit is with indian team since 2007 with no record still you guys believe they can bat.....wat an joke....dada didn't bat for one series he was out of cricket ....but y do we give chance to them....they got there chance but still they wasted them.....great sachin was also out who still believe he can bat till 2015 world cup....he was too out of cricket.....i just would like to give chance to some other youngster who really deserve chance in indian team...

  • Par on February 7, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    This is another example of biased reporting seen all around. The competition for test spots should not be heating, dear author. Vijay, raina, Rohit maybe all easy on eyes, but they have no technique/ patience to play against top quality sustained bowling attack (be it fast/ slow or combination). This match was billed as a real deal etc, but you have to accept Mumbai has had an avg bowling attack for last few years, who have consistently punched above their weight. Kulkarni,Nayar, Thakur, dabholkar are at best a honest, hardworking bunch of FC cricketers. But by hyping up this game, any success against these bowlers will immediatedly shine light on likes of Vijay (who has failed whole season) and raina ( who is seriously found lacking against international opposition in tests). Now based on the two centuries, I see these two guys getting into aussie squad and again flop on a royal scale, all the while rahane, Dhawan, Badri will play bridesmaid once again.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    All indian fans shud stop there bla bla bla.......they shud understand most of these players only takes there places for granted...performing on these dead pitches doesnt ensure a test berth ..most of the players are highly rated they play only in IPL... i pray india lose the series against aus so that good players deserve the chance... i know even if india win against aus these players will be ratede greats performing against the new teams...remeber the strongest team india ever hadd dint perform in aus even though they were lot of players played less than 30 matches and india team almst every player played atleast 75 matches on an average..they are no more greats..india performed only against the teams which were in revolution... indian team had the so called greats in the team...