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The Report by Amol Karhadkar in Mumbai
November 29, 2013
Mumbai 261 (Jaffer 139, Sandeep 4-35) and 179 for 1 (Tare 110*, Rahane 62*) lead Vidarbha 113 (Thakur 3-40) by 372 runs
Mumbai taught Vidarbha lesson or two at the Wankhede, taking firm control at the halfway stage of their Ranji Trophy Group A match. At stumps on day two, after bundling out Vidarbha for 113 for a first-innings lead of 148, Aditya Tare and Ajinkya Rahane's unbroken century stand for the second wicket helped Mumbai get to 179 for 1.
With Tare and Rahane at their sublime best, any of Vidarbha's hopes of stretching Mumbai in their first-ever Ranji clash evaporated. Ending the day trailing by 327 runs, Vidarbha seem to be headed for a huge defeat, and Mumbai, their third victory in four games this season.
The Mumbai bowlers put up a joint effort to roll Vidarbha. Debutant left-arm medium-pacer Akbar Khan struck in his third over, bowling a heavy ball to opener Amol Ubarhande, whose defensive stroke deflected the ball onto the ground and then a bail. Medium-pacer Shardul Thakur, playing his first game of the season, struck soon after, forcing a nick off left-handed Ravi Jangid that rested in wicketkeeper Tare's hands.
Vidarbha were then banking on Faiz Fazal and Shalabh Shrivastava, whose centuries against Karnataka last week had helped Vidarbha raise 500-plus. However, Zaheer Khan changed ends after bowling an opening three-over spell and struck off successive deliveries to take the wind out of Vidarbha's innings. He first caught Shrivastava in no man's land with a sharp incoming delivery - the batsman could only manage to hole out to Siddhesh Lad at forward short leg. The next ball was down the leg, but the seasoned Hemang Badani's nick was brilliantly latched on to by a diving Tare.
Just before lunch, Fazal edged Abhishek Nayar to Wasim Jaffer in the slip cordon and Vidarbha were in danger of following on, going into lunch at 60 for 6. The only short spell of resistance came from Rashmi Parida, who moved from Rajasthan at the start of the season, and Akshay Wakhare, who added 39 runs for the ninth wicket before the latter was dismissed by Kaustubh Pawar's dibbly-dobbly medium pace. Had it not been for Parida's single and a no-ball by Akbar before he got rid of the last man Sandeep Singh, Vidarbha may well have started their second innings in as many sessions on the day.
Once the pitch had eased out, Tare and Rahane made optimum use of batting-friendly conditions. Tare waged an assault right from the word go, hitting Sandeep - Vidarbha's most effective bowler in the first innings - for three boundaries in the first over of the innings. The battering continued till the end of the day's play, as Tare didn't spare any of the Vidarbha bowlers.
Tare raced to his second hundred of the season by tearing apart Umesh Yadav and Wakhare. He first plundered 16 runs off three successive short balls from Umesh, the first a four followed by maximums over long-on and midwicket. In the next over, he danced down the track and hit Wakhare for a huge six over long-off to complete his fourth first-class century. In the same over, Rahane followed Tare's cue and sent Wakhare into the stands over long-on to complete his fifty.
Earlier in the morning, Mumbai's last two wickets added just seven runs, with centurion Jaffer the last man dismissed, giving Sandeep his fourth wicket. The bowler, however, injured his ankle while trying to stop a full-blooded drive off Tare's willow in the final session, limping his way back to the dressing room.
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