Making a comeback after a wrist operation,Mumbai’s all-rounder Abhishek Nayar faced several questions the most prominent of which was whether he would make a smooth return.
That question was answered emphatically on Saturday as Nayar made a sensational unbeaten 155 before retiring hurt with cramps. His work,though,is not done yet. The newly promoted one-drop batsman may find himself in a crucial position on Sunday at the Brabourne Stadium as Mumbai,chasing Rajasthan’s 530 first innings score,need another 91 runs to secure three points after tons by Nayar and Rohit Sharma,and a quickfire 87 by Suryakumar Yadav saw them finishing the day on 439 for 5.
Sharma and Nayar,overnight on 55 and 32 respectively,gave Mumbai resuming on 104/2 a positive start. Sharma would go on to scored his second consecutive century although he was lucky to be dropped in slips by Akash Chopra on 94. While Sharma was the demolisher,it was Nayar who anchored the mammoth chase. The duo put together 181 runs for the third wicket. The nature of the partnership didn’t change when Nayar was then joined by a belligerent Suryakumar Yadav. And in just 18 overs the two batsmen added 130 runs.
Nayar restrained himself,making sure not to go after the spinners. He rotated the strike regularly so that Sharma and Yadav could have a go at the Rajasthan bowlers. And when Sharma and Yadav departed,Nayar made sure not to throw his own wicket.
“Before walking to bat I had told myself that whatever be the circumstances,I’m not giving my wicket today. This innings is not about losing or winning for me. We want to win for sure,but this innings is an emotional one as I’m batting after six months,” said Nayar,who in between measured defence laced 19 fours and a six in his 219-ball innings.
Indeed,while Nayar,Sharma and Yadav were batting,the Rajasthan bowlers looked at once helpless and desperate. Once Sharma and Yadav were dismissed and with cramps getting the better of Nayar,Mumbai’s run flow slowed down and the home side managed only 18 more in 13 overs. Wicket-keeper batsman Omkar Gurav creeped to 33 off 103 balls before getting run-out after backing up too far. At close of play Dhawal Kulkarni was batting on 33 and Iqbal Abdulla on 10.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 530 all out vs Mumbai 439/5 (A Nayar 155 retd hurt,R Sharma 100,S Yadav 87,P Singh 2/84,G Singh 1/116)