Ranji Trophy: Mumbai vs Punjab, Day 3
Mumbai, Dec 10: With an unbeaten 163 Rohit Sharma took Mumbai to 364 for three at the end of the third day’s play against Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium. He found an able ally in Hiken Shah who played a patient 163-ball 54-run knock to help keep Mumbai in the game. The home team was trailing by 216 runs at stumps.
Earlier, resuming at 69 for one, Kaustubh Pawar and Ajinkya Rahane added 37 runs to the overnight total, until Siddharth Kaul struck to give the visitors an important breakthrough early in the day. Rahane edged the pacer to first slip where Ravi Inder Singh claimed the catch to send back the opener for 31 off 62. Rohit Sharma who then came to crease got off to a good start. While the Mumbai opener brought up his half-century with a boundary off Siddharth Kaul, Rohit Sharma at the other end slammed Amitoze Singh for three boundaries and in the next over hit Bipul Sharma over mid-off and mid-on for two consecutive sixes. With his second hit over the fence Rohit Sharma brought up the 150-run mark for Mumbai. Continuing to score at a quick pace, he later brought up his fifty with a single off Harbhajan Singh off 63 balls.
The duo kept the scoreboard ticking and were cruising along at a steady pace when Pawar departed for 78. The Mumbai opener looked in good nick and set for a longer innings when he hit Harbhajan Singh to Jiwanjot Singh at forward short-leg to return to the dressing room at lunch. The wicket signaled the end of the first session with Mumbai on 193 and Rohit Sharma batting on 55.
Shah then joined Rohit Sharma in the centre and the two added 74 runs in the second session without losing a wicket. Shah who has scored three centuries in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season, played the perfect foil to Rohit Sharma as the two negotiated the Punjab attack and ensured that they saw the session through. Scoring at a faster pace than his partner, Rohit Sharma brought up his second century of the tournament so far with a single to mid-on off Bipul Sharma and was batting on 104 when the session ended. Shah who was holding up the other end had scored 20 during his 90-ball stay at the crease and hit his first boundary off the 90th delivery that he faced. Backed by some good efforts in the field, the Punjab bowlers kept pegging at the batsmen but to no avail.
Punjab’s leading wicket-taker, Sandeep Sharma who also holds the No.2 position in the list of highest wicket-takers in the tournament so far, was handed the new ball by the skipper in the 101st over. Rohit Sharma soon reached his 150 and took the partnership to the same number with a double off Manpreet Singh Grewal (Gony).
When they commence their innings on the fourth day, Mumbai will first look avoid the follow-on and then aim to surpass Punjab’s total to gain three points on the basis of a first innings lead.
At the end of Day 3: Mumbai 1st innings 364/4 in 109 overs (RG Sharma 163*, K Pawar 78, Hiken Shah 54*)
At the end of Day 2: Punjab 1st innings 580 all out in 158.1 overs (Mandeep Singh 211, A Singh 91, Ankeet Chavan 3/142); Mumbai 1st innings 69/1 in 19 overs (K Pawar 26*, A Rahane 18*)
At the end of Day 1: Punjab 1st innings 288/4 in 89.4 overs (Mandeep Singh 102*, Ravi Inder Singh 76, A Agarkar 2/54, D Kulkarni 2/61)