The Ranji Trophy Group A cricket match between Mumbai and J&K was evenly poised at the end of the third day’s play with the visitors finishing on 58 for one while chasing a modest target of 237 on a wearing track at the Wankhede Stadium.
Jammu and Kashmir, who are meeting the 40-time champions for the first-time ever in the tournament, require just 179 more runs on the final day with nine wickets in hand to cause a major upset in the beginning of the tournament. But the wearing wicket here would give Mumbai a great chance to stop their rivals from scoring an upset win.
At stumps on day three, first innings centurion Shubham Khajuria (34) and Bandeep Singh (11) were at the crease.
J&K had taken the first innings honours by grabbing a small lead of 18 runs over the hosts, who, however, batted well in the morning session from a shaky 66 for four to cross the 200-run mark before losing a clutch of wickets to be all out for 254.
Captain Suryakumar Yadav, unbeaten last evening on 17 with night watchman Dhawal Kulkarni (1), played a responsible innings to score his fifth first class century and fourth in the tournament.
Yadav, who threw away his wicket after reaching his half-century in the Mumbai first innings, made 115 in just under four hours off 158 balls and with 18 fours.
He received fine support from pace Mumbai spearhead Kulkarni, as the duo slowly and steadily pulled the home team out of the woods with a stand of 152 runs in 204 minutes for the fifth wicket.
But once the combination was broken by Umar Nazir, who had Kulkarni edge to the second slip, one of the four wickets he took in the innings, the Mumbai innings fell apart.
It deepened when Yadav was caught in similar fashion off the same bowler — his seventh wicket of the game.
Injured Wasim Jaffer remained unbeaten with four after batting at no. 11.
Nazir’s new ball partner Ram Dayal then polished off the tail to return impressive figures of five for 76 in the second innings and eight for 127 in the match.
J&K batted sedately in the run-chase, but lost the wicket of opener Adil Reshi to Shardul Thakur.
Mumbai: 236 & 254 (Suryakumar Yadav 115, Dhawal Kulkarni 37; Ram Dayal 5/76, Umar Nazir 4/49).
J&K: 254 & 58 for one in 87 overs (Sbhubham Khajuria 34 batting, Bandeep Singh 11 batting).
Uthappa Mayank put Karnataka in good position
Openers Robin Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal stamped their class by hitting sparkling half-centuries to put Karnataka in the driver’s seat against Tamil Nadu in a Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match.
Both Uthappa and Agarwal stole the show with their 76 and 80 as Karnataka reached 247 for four at the close of third day’s play, thus gaining a vital 263-run second-innings lead.
Both Uthappa and Agarwal added 163 runs for first wicket to almost push Tamil Nadu out of the game on a sporting Chinnaswamy strip.
Though the Karnataka openers hogged the limelight for shipping the team to a point from where they can only get points on the basis of first innings lead, credit should also be given to Aravind Sreenath, who ran through Tamil Nadu innings.
Tamil Nadu could only manage 274 in reply to Karnataka’s first-innings score of 290.
Sreenath ended up with figures of four for 52 and hosts’ captain Vinay Kumar (2 for 87) and H S Sharath (2 for 22) were proved to be an asset as they were consistent with their line and length, where the Tamil Nadu bowlers extracted help on Day One of the match.
Looking in great form, Uthappa hit ten boundaries in his sparkling knock, before being claimed by Mololan Rangarajan after Baba Aparajith latched on to a catch.
Like Uthappa, Agarwal’s innings had its flair and elan. He was attractive to watch, smashing Tamil Nadu bowlers with great aplomb, cracking 12 boundaries and a six.
Karnataka lost two quick wickets after the departure of Uthappa. Agarwal was run out off Vijay Shankar’s throw and Kunal Kapoor, who had scored a crucial 87 runs knock in Tamil Nadu’s first innings, was claimed by Jagannathan Kaushik for seven.
The hosts lost their fourth wicket after Karun Nair, who could manage nine in his first innings, was castled by right-arm medium pacer M Mohammed for 35 runs with seven delightful hits to the fence. He along with Pandey put on 59 runs for the fourth wicket.
Earlier, starting the day on 240 for five, Tamil Nadu captain Ramaswamy Prasanna, along with his partner Vijay Shankar (29 off 87 balls) added another 15 runs to the overnight total, before he was run out for 59 of Stuart Binny’s throw.
After the fall of Prasanna, Tamil Nadu lost the plot as they had a good chance to race past Karnataka’s first innings score.
Madhya Pradesh middle-order fires
Madhya Pradesh middle-order made it count against Railways with the Devendra Bundela-led side building up a vital second-innings lead on Day 3 of the Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match.
After bundling out Railways for 280 early in the first session, the MP bastmen rallied on to finish Monday on 212 for five and stretch their lead to 113.
Starting on their overnight score 253 for seven, the Mahesh Rawat-led Railways could not stand the bowling test as medium-pacer Puneet Datey wiped off the tail in quick time to bag a five-wicket haul.
Overcoming the 99-run trail, MP then rode on Mohnish Mishra’s well-made 71 to manage a vital lead. Bundela (41) and Harpreet Singh (69) were also vital contributors as the match is interestingly poised for the final day.
Madhya Pradesh- 181 and 212/5 in 80 overs (Mohnish Mishra 71, Harpreet Singh 69; Krishnakant Upadhyay 2-40)
Railways- 280 all out in 104.3 overs (Arindam Ghosh 120, Avinash Yadav 50; Puneet Datey 5-86).