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Waghmode 138, Hooda 75 as Baroda lead swells to 200-plus

Baroda 376 for 4 (Waghmode 138, Hooda 75, Iyer 1-22) lead Mumbai 171 (Sheth 5-50, Meriwala 5-52) by 205 runs
Scorecard

A hundred, coupled with two century stands, bore the hallmark of Mumbai's fabled khadoos school of cricket one would have expected to witness in the side's 500th Ranji Trophy appearance. Only it came from the opposition, Baroda, led by opener Aditya Waghmode and captain Deepak Hooda, who set-up a 205-run lead with six wickets in hand at the end of the second day.

Waghmode, unbeaten on 15 overnight, was watchful and scratchy in equal measure for the greater part of the opening hour. His first assured stroke fetched him his second four in the morning session as he drove Shardul Thakur through the covers. An over later, he edged past a diving Ajinkya Rahane at gully and brought up the team's hundred.

His focus, however, was best exemplified through the 112 dots he played out of 134 balls to reach his half-century; the cover drive that took him to the mark a testament to the flair he exhibited through the remainder of his 309-ball 138. By the time an edge off Shreyas Iyer found Rahane at first-slip less than an hour before stumps, Waghmode had hit 13 fours and a six.

Keeping him company for nearly 40 overs was Hooda who traded his natural flamboyance for watchfulness for the better half of his innings. His relief shot was an inside-out six that took Baroda into the lead, before he was dropped on 38 by wicketkeeper Aditya Tare off an attempted pull that he gloved down leg. A flick off Thakur brought up his seventh fifty and 2000th run in first-class cricket.

Two vociferous caught-behind appeals - the second when he was on 56 - and a missed stumping followed, before two big hits took his sixes tally against spinner Vijay Gohil to five. Hooda's charmed stay, however, ended shortly after Baroda notched up 250. Gohil got him to pull one to deep-midwicket when he was on 75.

Waghmode's vigil at the crease was also aided by No. 3 batman Vishnu Solanki and No. 5 Swapnil Singh, who compounded Mumbai's woes with knocks of 54 and an unbeaten 63 repsectively. While Solanki added 85 for the second wicket with Waghmode, Singh stitched together 105 for the fourth.

Gohil's unconvincing left-arm sliders leaked 115 runs for a solitary scalp in 26 overs, whereas frontline quicks Dhawal Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar remained wicketless through their combined 34.1 overs on day two. Thakur, who was introduced into the 35th over, however troubled the batsmen routinely with his relentlessly accurate lines. Of the three spells - amounting to 21 overs - he fired, the second spewed most venom as he unleashed a barrage of short balls that copped the helmet and shoulders of Hooda and Waghmode occasionally.

Mumbai's luckless day with the ball, however, began with Royston Dias, their only wicket-taker from the previous evening, pulling out of his run-up into the fifth ball of his opening spell. After he walked off the field, clutching his right thigh, Kulkarni completed the over and bowled in tandem with Nayar for the major part of the first hour. A Waghmode outside-edge that fell between second and wide-third-slip was first of at least seven other that flew towards the slip cordon, but never quite into their hands.

With a five-four field in favour of the legside, and Baroda at 145 for 2, Kulkarni set up Hooda for a pull that fell inches short of a diving Siddesh Lad at deep square-leg. The following ball, a bouncer knocked Waghmode down, with the ball ballooning off the splice of the bat, onlt to fall short of Rahane at gully. The next one pinged him on the front foot but missed leg only slightly. Waghmode, who was then on 57 off 155 went on to score his sixth first-class hundred, and Kulkarni's anguished fist punch encapsulated Mumbai's oscillation between hope and despair.