Report: Irani Cup 2013 – Mum vs ROI, Day 2
After being vocal about his desire to succeed as a Test cricketer, Suresh Raina walked the talk by notching up a brilliant 134 on the second day of the Irani Cup at the Wankhede Stadium. His knock helped Rest Of India post a sizeable 526 runs in the first innings, 155 of which were wiped off by the Ranji champions at stumps. Mumbai now trail ROI by 371 runs with eight wickets in hand.
The 132-run second wicket stand between Wasim Jaffer (80) and Ajinkya Rahane (55*) was mainly responsible for putting Mumbai’s innings on course. While Jaffer returned back to the pavilion with seven overs remaining in the day, Rahane remained unbeaten along with night watchman Shardul Thakur.
Jaffer begun Mumbai’s innings with two boundaries off S Sreesanth – first, a thick edge past point, and second, a gorgeous flick through midwicket. That followed an early jolt when Aditya Tare (6) played a loose shot to Ishwar Pandey to be caught at gully.
Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane, however, ensured their team got back on track. Mumbai’s veteran opening batsman was as solid as ever, guiding the innings and his young batting partner through. Mumbai made steady progress as the Jaffer-Rahane duo put up a century partnership for the second wicket.
The stand ended when S Sreesanth, who looked patchy in his first spell, got rid of the solid opening batsman with a fuller ball just outside off-stump. Jaffer, who looked to leave it alone, poked at it at the last moment for wicketkeeper Ambati Rayudu to pouch a catch. Jaffer’s lovely knock, which was laced with some classy drives through the cover region, came to a premature end.
Earlier, after getting rid of Murali Vijay (116) with great difficulty, Mumbai bowlers were in for some more bashing, from Suresh Raina (134), who brought up his 11th first-class century
Resuming at an overnight individual score of 36, Raina played a knock that was a fine blend of caution and aggression. While he bided his time, he also played some beautiful shots through point, cover and straight down the ground.
Raina was particularly tough on the spinners, who saw the ball sailing past the boundary rope off their bowling on a few occasions. There were the deft cuts as well as some authoritative punches down the ground. His favourite midwicket region was also exploited as he cruised along at a strike-rate of just under 80.
Mumbai missed their premier pacers – Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar – especially against Raina, as Dhawal Kulkarni, Javed Khan and Shardul Thakur hardly tested the southpaw’s back-foot play and his ability to play the short ball on the whole.
Beginning Day 2 on 330/5, ROI lost skipper Harbhajan Singh (16) in the fifth over of the day. Kulkarni’s early strike proved to be Mumbai’s sole reason to smile for a long time – 28 overs to be precise.
Raina and Abhimanyu Mithun (51) scored runs at a fair clip and notched up a 153-run partnership for the seventh wicket. They batted at an ODI-like run-rate of 5.46. Mithun used the long handle to good effect, unleashing some powerful strikes for his nine fours and one six.
Mithun perished soon after reaching his fifty post lunch, playing a poor shot off Chavan. Pragyan Ojha perished soon and Raina then followed him back into the hut, handling a catch to Chavan at long-on off Thakur.
ROI lost their last four wickets for 21 runs as their innings ended at 526 runs in 130.1 overs.
Day 1: Rest Of India 1st innings 330/5 (Vijay 116; Nayar 2/49)
Day 2: Rest Of India 1st innings 526 (Vijay 116, Raina 134; Chavan 3/56); Mumbai 1st innings 155/2 (Jaffer 80, Rahane 55*)