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October 27, 2013
Mumbai 100 for 4 (Rahane 44*) trail Haryana 134 (Mohit 49, Nayar 4-38) by 34 runs
Haryana had begun their previous season with totals of 55 and 66, and cricket fans around the country were wishing for something similar after Mumbai chose to field in Lahli. The Sachin Tendulkar retirement juggernaut had turned what would have been another anonymous first-class match, into the most anticipated Ranji game in decades.
The massive Sunday crowd were thrilled as the home side were shot out for 134, but were disappointed when Tendulkar lasted just seven deliveries, with most of the fans heading home once he was dismissed, a scene not too dissimilar from that of the 1990s when India's fate hinged on his wicket.
They didn't stick around to see two of Mumbai's most dependable batsmen, Abhishek Nayar and Ajinkya Rahane, ensure the team didn't lose the initiative provided by the bowlers on a greenish Lahli track. It wasn't the easiest of surfaces to bat on, and Mohit Sharma in particular posed plenty of problems.
The 56-run stand between Rahane and Nayar stabilised Mumbai after the quick losses of Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer, and the amount of runs didn't highlight the importance of the partnership in what is shaping as a low-scoring encounter.
Nayar was dismissed shortly before close for 24, ending a day in which he had once again contributed with bat and ball. In the morning, he nipped out four lower middle-order wickets with his steady medium-pace as Haryana tumbled towards yet another sub-100 total. Before Nayar, the quicker bowlers had shared the spoils to run through Haryana's fragile top order.
In any other match, the return of Ajay Jadeja from an almost seven-year first-class hibernation would have dominated headlines. Here, it was a sidelight to the Tendulkar show. Jadeja didn't fare too much better than Tendulkar, falling for just 14.
From 71 for 8, it took some swinging from Mohit to help Haryana past 100, and he fell short of a deserved maiden half-century by one run when he was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar. He was outstanding with the ball as well, but couldn't prevent Mumbai from ending the day in a strong position.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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