Mumbai v Rest of India, Irani Cup, Mumbai, 3rd day February 8, 2013

Tendulkar ton not enough to secure lead


Rest of India 526 and 27 for 1 lead Mumbai 409 (Tendulkar 140*, Rahane 83, Jaffer 80, Harbhajan 3-64) by 144 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Before India's last major Test series, against England, Sachin Tendulkar had tuned up with a century against Railways in the opening Ranji Trophy fixture. Three months later, two weeks before another important Test series, Tendulkar eased towards another hundred, in front of a crowd several times larger than the ones that had graced the Irani Cup on the first two days. Though he grabbed the limelight, equalling Sunil Gavaskar's Indian record for most first-class centuries, and rescuing Mumbai after a middle-order wobble, Rest of India chipped away at a strong batting line-up to secure a potentially decisive first-innings lead. At stumps, Rest of India led by 144, but had lost opener Shikhar Dhawan in the second innings.

The Rest of India bowlers bowled slightly better than Mumbai had done - but were just as ill-disciplined, if not more, when it came to bowling no-balls that contributed to a poor over-rate - and were helped by a slice of fortune and some sloppy batting.

Two Indian Test hopefuls had reason to be upset today: Ajinkya Rahane, who looked good to get a three-figure score, was given out lbw after he inside-edged an attempted sweep off Harbhajan Singh; and Rohit Sharma threw his wicket away for a duck, top-edging a slog to be caught while trying to break free from a spell of 11 dot balls. Captain Abhishek Nayar fell cheaply, and at 257 for 6, Mumbai having lost 3 for 23, the burden of erasing a huge deficit fell squarely on Tendulkar.

Nightwatchman Shardul Thakur had fallen off the first ball he faced this morning, and his dismissal was greeted with a cheer on his home ground as Tendulkar walked in to replace him. Tendulkar looked comfortable against seamer Ishwar Pandey, but faced a testing first spell from Sreesanth, who ruffled him up with some bouncers, beating him as he tried to play the upper-cut, and even getting one to nip back in to rap him high on the pads. It was a little surprising that his spell stopped at six overs, immediately after he had prompted an error from Tendulkar.

Tendulkar warmed up with a couple of neat off-drives, one off his second delivery from Pandey, and waited to open up until Pragyan Ojha was brought on. He clubbed Ojha for a flat six over long-off, then threaded him through mid-on and midwicket next ball. Tendulkar retained his flow after losing Rahane, with whom he added 73, slog-sweeping Harbhajan over deep midwicket, but Mumbai were wobbling before lunch, by when Harbhajan, on a comeback trail himself, had accounted for Rohit.

Nayar nicked Abhimanyu Mithun to slip in the first over after lunch, but Tendulkar found a solid partner in Ankeet Chavan, who supported him in a century stand. As Chavan batted confidently at one end, dispatching freebies, defending solidly and even scoring off good deliveries, Tendulkar continued to take the Rest of India spinners to task.

Tendulkar was cheeky, scooping Harbhajan, paddle-sweeping Ojha, and then making room to carve the ball over extra cover. Sreesanth bothered him momentarily in a new spell, catching him on his shoulder, but Tendulkar drove him imperiously next ball to reach 99 and completed his 81st first-class ton with a single to square leg. This, on his way to going past 25,000 runs in the first-class format, still behind Gavaskar, who leads the tally for Indians.

Chavan had struck two fours in an over against Mithun, but pushed loosely at a delivery that nipped away, after having left several such deliveries alone during his 49, to be caught behind. Tendulkar kept going, driving superbly on the up against Mithun and Pandey, but was let down by the tail. He showed faith in Dhawal Kulkarni and Javed Khan, taking singles off the first ball of the over, hoping they would be able to negotiate the rest, but both ran out of patience, enticed by flighted deliveries from the spinners with the field brought in, and succumbed. Last man Vishal Dabholkar was lbw first ball, as Tendulkar watched on, stranded at the other end, having achieved a series of milestones but enduring the disappointment of conceding what could be a match-deciding first-innings lead.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 11, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    This is another pity attempt to re-energized Tendulkar. ROI pulled Sreesanth soon after he forced an error. Pathetic!

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    If he can score 140* against the "rest of India", then I'm sure ha can do it against , say, NZ. So let him keep playing

  • Srinivas on February 9, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    Harbhajan took-off Sreesanth from the attack immediately after Sreesanth ruffled up Statchin? And Statchin went on to score a century, just like other youngsters in the match. One has to question the motive of Harbhajan here for removing Sreesanth from the attack when the bowler is getting better of the batsman. Everybody knows that Statchin saved Harbhajan during the Symonds' episode. Looks like Harbhajan is now returning the favour to a batsman who now struggles woefully against pacers. If anyone remembers, Sreesanth was first selected to our team after he bowled Statchin twice through the gate.

  • Srinivas on February 9, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    @ravichakra, miss you immensely on these boards bro. Please come back. Your posts are always a food for thought for people who think any individual is above the game and worse still, the team. I can imagine how you must be feeling with blind fan boys' reprehensible posts like - 1. "Statchin carried the burden of the team all alone for 23 years" when the fact is it was Dravid who scored the highest number of runs since his debut. Throw in VVS, Kumble, Bhajji, Sehwag, Zaheer, Srinath and the mighty Skipper Ganguly, one has to wonder how Statchin carried the burden all alone for even one test match since June 20 1996 (the day of Dravid's debut), let alone for 23 years or posts like I love Statchin and I switch off TV once he is dismissed - this is the heights of apathy towards your country and team. Just as their idol, his fan boys are also more interested in his individual performances than the team's fate. To be honest, I don't expect anything better from Statchin's fan boys.

  • Ivan on February 9, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    @Ravichakra- When a guy scores a hundred and is unbeaten, it is wrong to criticize him. when it is SRT, with the legacy of over 20 years of astonishing success, it makes these comments churlish. Why do we expect so much from one man? RD and VVS were fine players but Sachin's ability to dominate they did not have. Not even VVS although in the 2001 series he was India's best bat. At the age of 40 he is still out there putting himself to the test against the best in the world. It is he who goes out to bat, not you, not I. He is the superman. But he is not perfect. Why don't we just leave it at that and admire and respect the man and watch him as he winds down his outstanding career. He deserves that at minimum.

  • Premanand on February 9, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    As usual stuff from SRT supporters. If he had failed in this match they would have said "What for he is playing. Just retire and don't block youngsters place in the team". Now that he has scored 140 odd, the same set of supporters talks of Bowling Quality (or the lack of it) or not protecting the tail or troubled by Sreesanth, etc.. Great stuff from all. But the best thing about SRT is his committment, Desire, Passion and preserverance towards cricket with which he serves World Cricket for the last 23 years which may not be repeated ever by anybody consistently. His above great supporters just need some reasons (good or bad) to make an issue out of an evenly matched and contested teams. May be SRT sneeezed or did not during his fieding !!. I am really tired of his great great supporters like Dravid_Gravitas. SRT is a simple cricketer who loves the game of cricket mates !! Enjoy till he retires !!

  • Parthasarathy on February 9, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    @Venkat : It depends on what you like the individual or the game. My point is, if you like the game more than the individual, these very shots are played by the other centurions and high scorers as well, so what is the big deal in him playing those shots. As far as he being the greatest servant of Indian cricket, all along he has hogged the limelight whereas the true servants of Indian cricket never got their dues from the public and the BCCI (being questioned on the first signs of failure). @ Mayank - That is what I call double standards not what Dravid_Gravitas has written.@ Leggie - How many times has Sachin won us a match overseas as compared to his total runs and centuries overseas?

  • Parthasarathy on February 9, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    @Mayank Kumar: What has SRT done so far - accumulated personal milestones. That was proven the moment RD & VVS retired (forced to retire), Test cricket in India has reached an abyss. If SRT is the force people reckon, it should have not mattered with the retirement of two loyals. The difference is there for all to see. He was always hogging the limelight (as in this match as well) where as the credit for playing for the nation and team cause should be given to RD & VVS. What is measured is how many runs were scored overall, but not in what situation. Significance of innings should be the measure and not merely run count. SRT does not even feature in the list (highest significant innings) of first 20 whereas RD or VVS have featured in that list. India needed him to fill the vacuum created by the retirement of the two, but as has been the case in the last 23 years, he was found wanting and struggling. One more time - all he can do is accumulate personal milestones!

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Some people are upset with the sun even if it gives us light!!!!There has not been a greater servant of Indian cricket than SRT. I saw the match yday and found that even though Sachin was troubled by Sreesanth for a max of two when he was struck on the pad and another when he took the ball on the ball was bombasted to the midoff fence....he was head and shoulders ahead of anyone else..Let us enjoy his performances as he will soon be walking into the sunset....people might be upset that he is continuing even at 39-40 but he is still delivering more than most others

  • Parthasarathy on February 9, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    I had stopped following cricket and these blogs on the retirement of two great servants of Indian cricket - RD & VVS. But was itching to have a go after seeing SRT fans going ga ga over his century in domestic cricket. This article shows that he scored a century against lowly Railways and failed miserably against England, his pet boys now arrive where he can prove once again on flat batting wickets what a great player (accumulator of personal milestones)he is. If Sree who has been in wilderness can trouble him (surprisingly taken off), not sure what the international bowlers can do.@ Dravid_Gravitas - You are spot on that he has never batted well with the tail and bailed India out of difficult situations, instead has sheepishly surrendered after achieving his personal milestone as in last SA tour. And for the Sachin fans raving about his century, there are 3 other centurions in this match as well plus 80+ scores by others, so what is the big deal - just proving to be a flat track bully

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