Only Shreyas Iyer, who fell 18 short of making hundreds in successive Ranji Trophy finals, could have faced a barrage of questions on the frustration of missing out on the landmark and the shot selection that caused him to miss it and left the people asking those questions in splits. He seldom shows disappointment after getting out, which some may construe as carelessness. But there was nothing careless about the way he batted on day three to lead Mumbai's resurgence after they had conceded a first-innings lead of 100.

Iyer walked in with Mumbai still 46 short of wiping out the deficit. He likes to play shots and move along quickly, but now he was forced to bide his time in the face of some dour Gujarat bowling - they kept bowling wide outside off stump and forced the batsmen to slash or drive to fielders in the deep. The Iyer of the past may have tried to charge the bowlers. Not today.

"It was really frustrating," he said. "At one time, I was getting really bored leaving the ball because I like to play strokes a lot. I could see the ball properly but I still had to play to the team's demand of staying at the crease. When the spinner came on, I took charge and decided to carry on."

Against spin, Iyer demonstrated quick hands and swept with ferocity, piercing gaps on the square-leg and midwicket boundaries repeatedly. Then he stepped away to make room and loft Hardik Patel, the left-arm spinner, for two sixes. On a turner, it may have been a risk. Here there wasn't much rough for the bowlers to work with.

For most of Mumbai's innings, it appeared as if the surface had little help in it for either the spinners or the quicks. Asked about this, Iyer's reply was blunt, expressing a certain derision for Gujarat's tactics.

"Since they were not bowling on the stumps, I can't tell you," he said. "They were just bowling outside off. We will know exactly how it is playing when we bowl."

Did Gujarat bowl the same way in Hubli, where they pipped Mumbai for the first-innings lead? "No, no. There they were bowling good lines and lengths, because they had Jasprit Bumah," Iyer said. "He doesn't like to bowl outside off. He's got good pace and would like to bowl on the stumps."

Amidst the deadpan put-downs, Iyer also expressed disappointment at missing out on what looked like a hundred for the taking.

"The scorecard could have looked different; we would have been 230 for 2 with me getting my century had I not played that shot," he said. "But it's part and parcel of the game. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us as a team, hopefully we can put some good runs on the board and put them onto bat and see what happens."

The 17-year-old Prithvi Shaw began the fightback with a 35-ball 44, and Iyer revealed something of himself in how he assessed the opening batsman's innings and method.

"It's really nice for the team, suddenly we get a good start which we were not getting in the previous matches," he said. "Then this boy coming in, young and fearless. It was amazing to watch. The shot he played wasn't that good, but you can forgive him. He's that kind of a player."

Iyer finished his first two seasons as Mumbai's highest run-getter - he was the tournament's highest run-getter in his second season, 2015-16. If not for those numbers, his returns from 2016-17 - his 82 on Thursday moved him to 725 runs at 42.64 - may have been considered excellent. But given his own standards, he must surely have felt a little frustrated at some points this season?

"I'm not that disappointed because I've got 700 odd," he said. "It's an average performance. I wasn't able to convert my 40s and 30s. If I did that I would have got 1000 runs. It's not a problem, I just have to forget about my previous performances, work hard and come back strong."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo