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Iyer's 124-ball 138 lights up draw; Odisha avoid defeat

Shreyas Iyer plays a lofted shot in his 82 Prakash Parsekar

For a little while, there was the promise of a thrilling finish between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu at the BKC, but it was duly extinguished once Shreyas Iyer's (138 off 124 balls) pyrotechnics came to an end. Tamil Nadu walked away with three points by virtue of having taken the first-innings lead in the drawn encounter, after Mumbai declared on 371 for 5. Akhil Herwadkar (132) produced a polished effort to bring up his seventh first-class hundred, but it was of little more than academic significance.

The only piece of meaningful action came in the morning when Iyer ripped the Tamil Nadu attack. His 11th first-class hundred, breathtaking and calculative in equal measure, took the game forward. With little assistance from the pitch, the bowlers, including R Ashwin, were taken down with ease by Iyer who added four sixes to his five from the third day. The Mumbai batsman brought up his run-a-ball hundred with a four and a six off consecutive deliveries from Yo Mahesh. Iyer then continued to tonk the ball around with slap-pulls and square cuts. However, an ill-advised second run in the 45th over resulted in his dismissal. K Vignesh fired in a strong throw from the deep and despite a dive, Iyer found himself short of the crease.

Herwadkar said later that Mumbai didn't look at declaration given that the pitch didn't help the bowlers much. "There was hardly any turn," he said. "We just wanted to bat out the day." Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund could empathise with Mumbai's decision given that it was only their second match of the season. "We were prepared for about 40 or 50 overs. I thought they would put us back," he said. "But considering they had four more games this season, I think they didn't want to take the risk." Ashwin's 26 overs in the second innings yielded no wickets and he went for over four runs an over, with Iyer and Herwadkar playing him with ease. Abhinav credited the batsmen, but was surprised that the pitch didn't break up. "There wasn't as much assistance as I thought there would be on the fourth day," he said. "It was quite unlike BKC because I thought end third day or the fourth day there will be balls turning. But there was hardly any turn even on the fourth day." With seven points from three games, Tamil Nadu are now third on the standings, while Mumbai, having played one fewer game, are fourth with four points.

Odisha's lower order clung on to avoid outright defeat, finishing on 152 for 7 in their second innings after Andhra had enforced the follow-on in Vizianagaram.

Resuming their first innings on 294 for 6, Odisha lost Subham Nayak in the first over of the day. However, Biplab Samantray (72) strung useful partnerships of 36 and 49 with Basant Mohanty and Suryakant Pradhan respectively, but Odisha inevitably conceded a lead of 193 runs. Asked to bat again, Odisha got off to a shaky start for the second time in a match, losing Natraj Behera in the fourth over.

They lost two more wickets inside the next 13 overs and slipped to 43 for 3. Left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt, who picked up four wickets in the first dig, accounted for opener Sandeep Pattanaik, Subhranshu Senapati, Saurabh Rawat and Abinash Saha to reduce Odisha to 81 for 6. It was then left to Samantray to mount another rescue mission, as he shared a 50-run partnership with Nayak. Eventually, Samantray finished on an unbeaten 112-ball 62 to ensure Odisha weren't bowled out and got away with one point. Andhra's three points, though, have taken them to second place on the standings behind Madhya Pradesh.