Abhinav Mukund ton drives Rest of India
Day 1 Rest of India 331 for 1 (Mukund 156*, Dhawan 83) v Mumbai
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
On a Jaipur pitch that offered no help to the bowlers, the Rest of India batsmen made merry on the opening day of the Irani Cup tie against Mumbai. Abhinav Mukund dominated proceedings with an unbeaten 156 and was supported by half-centuries from opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and S Badrinath. Mumbai, the Ranji Trophy champions, toiled hard but there was also enough indiscipline on offer from their bowlers. Their fielders didn't help matters by dropping the couple of chances that came their way.
Yuvraj Singh called correctly in the morning and had no hesitation to bat on a pitch that seemed to have very little moisture; whatever little there was, evaporated soon under the harsh sun. There was hardly any movement, in the air or off the seam, for Mumbai's new ball pair of Ajit Agarkar and Dhawal Kulkarni. It was evident in the ease with which Dhawan got going as early as the third over, driving Agarkar twice in three balls for four through the gap between extra cover and mid-off.
Mumbai had a golden opportunity to get an early breakthrough in the next over bowled by Kulkarni, when Mukund edged a delivery outside off between second and third slip. Omkar Khanvilkar dived across from third slip, got both hands to the ball but failed to hold on. Mukund was on eight then. He capitalised on that lapse by driving Kulkarni to the extra cover fence in his next over.
Dhawan and Mukund shut the door on Mumbai after that, defending the ones pitched on a good length and punishing deliveries bowled full or short. Mumbai missed a third seamer, someone like Aavishkar Salvi who could have hurried the batsmen, as Usman Malvi was steady at best. Spin was introduced in the 14th over in the form of Ramesh Powar, and though the veteran off-spinner flighted the ball tantalisingly, there was neither much turn nor bounce on offer to trouble the batsmen. Moreover, Powar was guilty of overstepping eight times.
Jaffer juggled his bowlers around, using as many as eight during the course of the day. Abhishek Nayar got some deliveries to skid a bit off the pitch but he was far too erratic to cause any worries for the batsmen. If Powar could not get anything out of the surface, it was unlikely that Iqbal Abdulla could; he was smashed for three consecutive fours by Dhawan in his third over.
Mumbai's second and last chance came a couple of overs before lunch when Malvi, running in from long leg, failed to latch on to a top-edge from Dhawan at deep square leg off Agarkar, despite diving and getting both hands to it. Rest of India went into lunch at 128 without loss.
Dhawan and Mukund unleashed a flurry of boundaries after lunch as Mumbai wilted under the hot Jaipur sun. However, Dhawan - who had looked the more fluent of the duo - tried to hit one too many and struck a Rohit Sharma full toss straight to Abdulla at midwicket to depart for 83.
At 167 for 1, Mumbai ran into the broad bat of Badrinath, who hardly looked ruffled throughout his stay, and hit some pleasing drives, and the only six of the day off Powar. Mukund meanwhile reached his ninth first-class hundred with a straight-driven four past Malvi, after being stuck on 99 for 14 deliveries.
Mukund's timing only got better after tea and one shot off Kulkarni pretty much summed up the day. Mukund straight-drove a full delivery and the ball sped past the mid-on fielder before he could even react. It was that kind of day for the Ranji Trophy champions. It sped past them in a blur of runs.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo