Mumbai v Railways, Group A, Ranji Trophy 2012-13 November 2, 2012

Mumbai cruise on Tendulkar, Rahane tons


Mumbai 344 for 4 (Tendulkar 137, Rahane 104*) v Railways

The start of the Ranji Trophy has rarely been under such scrutiny. The return of India's star players to their domestic sides has been the biggest draw for fans, but not too far behind are those players possibly competing for a place in the Test squad during a long home season. At the Wankhede Stadium, Sachin Tendulkar, recovering from a severe stomach bug, batted with comfort, assuredness and ultimately supreme confidence to give a disappointingly small crowd of a few hundred spectators the performance they'd come to watch.

"I'm happy with this knock," Tendulkar told Indian Express. "It was tough in this heat as I had food poisoning and an upset stomach."

At the other end, Ajinkya Rahane quietly continued accumulating runs, reaching another landmark in what has already been a hectic two months for him and boosting his own chances for a place in the Test squad. Together, they put Mumbai in a dominating position against Railways, who had chosen to field, hoping their attack comprising four seam options would derive some help from the covering of grass on the track.

The wicket that brought Tendulkar and Rahane together at 143 for 3 was of another Test hopeful, who was understandably livid after being run out. Rohit Sharma batted 40 minutes in the nets yesterday, also with a wicketkeeper standing up against the spinners. He came in at No.4 - Tendulkar's position - and his preparation appeared to be paying off when he charged out twice to left-arm spinner Murali Kartik to hit him for fours. Unfortunately for Rohit, he was dismissed in a manner he would have least anticipated.

Tendulkar, too, had prepared rigorously for this outing. He began cautiously after being greeted with huge cheers from a sparse crowd, and bowling to him in that initial phase was Hardik Rathod, whose action is similar to Zaheer Khan's. New Zealand's Trent Boult had given Tendulkar a tough time with his left-arm pace in a series in which Tendulkar was bowled thrice, but Rathod lacked the swing or movement to cause similar troubles. Tendulkar played straight, appeared to pick the length well and waited for an opening. When on 12, he had a slice of luck against a ball from Rathod that kept low, inside-edging it past fine leg, but that was a rare moment of unease.

It wasn't until his 31st delivery that he struck a boundary, dispatching a wide delivery from seamer Anureet Singh through point. While initially circumspect against pace, he gained his fluency against spin. Ashish Yadav flighted the ball generously and Tendulkar struck him for back-to-back boundaries past mid-on, Shivakant Yadav was smashed over deep midwicket for six. After tea, Tendulkar would also turn his attention to pace while the ruthlessness against spin continued.

Tendulkar targeted Yadav, cutting and pulling him for fours before clearing long-on and deep extra cover to speed past Rahane. When the pair had put on a century stand, in the 69th over, Tendulkar had scored 61 of those runs and he would be the first among the pair to reach a century - his first in first-class cricket since January 2011. The assault against Yadav had taken him into the nineties and the progress to the landmark - brought up with a nudge behind square - was interrupted briefly by a fan who ran in to shake his hand when on 99.

Rahane faced more anxious moments, was more workmanlike in his approach and grew more determined to bat long. Chasing a fullish delivery from Rathod when on 7, Rahane was dropped by Murali Kartik at second slip and then had a couple of leading edges land safe as he walked across and closed the face. "Catches keep getting dropped, it's a part and parcel," Rahane said. "After that, I showed more determination and I tried to play as much as possible in the 'V'."

Rahane was comfortable against deliveries that were held back, and scored freely off the back foot, punching through cover, whipping through square leg and picking off singles with ease when Railways employed a deep point.

Once in the groove, Rahane drove well down the ground, past the bowler, mid-off and extra cover, prompting Sanjay Bangar, the Railways captain, to place a silly mid-off and a short extra cover at one stage. His steady approach was overshadowed by Tendulkar's dominance, but Rahane, too, didn't waste too many chances. Kartik almost had him caught at slip with a turning ball, but Rahane cut him through point and then cracked the first delivery with the second new-ball through cover for four - he reached his century the same over.

Tendulkar's aggression after tea - which included three fours in an over against seamer Krishnakant Upadhyaya - ended when he tried to upper cut Anureet but was caught at second slip. This, after a 200-run stand off 249 balls, a barrage of boundaries, and an imposing first-day score to complete a fulfilling day for Mumbai, its two centurions and the few who turned up.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shipu on November 5, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Rahane is an ordinary player probably why India don't select him. Sachin is starting to get in form now which can only be great for fans in general he's entertainment.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Just let the man be left alone! Stop being so critical of him. He has always put the team first, and above himself throughout his career. He will retire when he feels he cannot serve the team well enough. Until then, just respect him for what he is, for what he has done for India, and let him be!

  • Shibu on November 5, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    I am just foreseeing the pathetic situation, wherein Sachin is forced to retire from all form of Cricket. He got a wonderful chance after the World Cup win. But now, He is kinda trapped looking for a chance to retire. But It's gonna be Worse than Pathetic!!!

  • Raghu on November 4, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Retire & give chance to another player.

  • Raghu on November 4, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    Give retirement & take rest.

    Give chance to young cricketers.

    You have not that stamina to play International Cricket.

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    i think this gives sachin lot of confidence for the series with england & i think rahane also is in good form so rahane is good option for selectors

  • Andrew on November 4, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Good on Sachin. I don't know if the attack he faced is of the same quality as what England will play - but this is better than a failure by a long way. Confidence can mean the world of difference!

  • Al on November 4, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    10dulkar scored a century against against the fearsome bowlers of Railways! D S Jadhav of Assam scored a double century. That makes Jadhav twice as good as 10dulkar. Irfan Pathan scored a century against a much better attack of Karnataka - this proves my theory that on current form, Irfan Pathan is a better batsman than 10dulkar. Kaif scored a 91 against Delhi, which has a number of current Indian batsmen and bowlers. It's time to drop 10dulkar and give a chance to Mohd. Kaif, Badri, or Rahane, or even D S Jadhav.

  • Abdul Naveed on November 3, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Mohammad Kaif's last eight innings came at an average of almost 55 in 2012 including today's innings of 91 against the star studded Delhi side. On 14 July 2012, Anil Kumble in his interview to ESPN Cricino has strongly backed Kaif for the Tests. Anil is a very keen observer of the talent and at the correct time he tried to point out on a particular player due to several reasons and he seems to be right on his part. Actually Kaif's career was spoiled when he was tagged as an ODI player whereas he has been basically a natural Test Player. Despite 31, Kaif is one of the fittest Players in India. Being myself a cricketer, who strongly support Team India but do not support a particular player but Kaif should have been tried especially India Team has lost the experience players in between a very short span.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Totally agree with Apoorv Shaligram..So friend i'm copying ur comment.. not becoz i can't put my own words.. in d past two years i defended him.. & will b doing it forever.. Sachin scored 137 at a strike rate of more than 100. Against the same bowling on the same pitch, Rahane scored 100 at a strike rate of 50. And yet people want Sachin to retire and give way to Rahane because the bowling attack was not quality enough??? Why is it that whenever Sachin is concerned, all logic flies out of the window?? If the bowling attack wasn't up to standards, Sachin only showed the difference between him and the rest by scoring that quickly!! In the years 2010-2012, he has been averaging 50 in tests (against world class attacks as opposed to the ones against which the Ranji records are built). Amazing that people who havn't even watched cricket as long as he has played it decide that he isn't good enough any more on basis of 5-7 innings

  • No featured comments at the moment.