It is an unwritten rule of sorts in Ranji Trophy games that the top performer of the day from each team speaks to the media at close of play. On Tuesday, Mumbai struggled to find one while Railways had two — Saurabh Wakaskar and V Cheluvaraj.
Railways opener Saurabh Wakaskar plays a shot en route to his unbeaten 161 against Mumbai on Tuesday ,Aadesh Choudhari
Opener Wakaskar slammed an unbeaten 161 (260b, 15×4, 2×6) to emerge the star with Cheluvaraj (70 not out, 167b, 6×4) and helped their team finish the day on top against the hosts in Group B Ranji Trophy encounter at the Wankhede Stadium.
After folding out Mumbai for 331 early in the first session, Railways are comfortable at 285 for one. They now enjoy a 171-run lead.
There was nothing extraordinary about the way Railways batted, but the sheer application and patience shown by both the batsmen that saw them through the day with ease, was impressive.
The boy from Baroda Wakaskar was more attacking of the two and did not leave many opportunity to pierce his drives through the gaps. Cheluvaraj was restrained and rotated the strike giving ample opportunities for Wakaskar to score from.
The track, which has come under lot of criticism off late, offered little help for Mumbai bowlers. Though there was some turn, it was so slow that the batsman could easily go on the backfoot to a length ball. But the host spinners were guilty of not bowling a consistent line and length.
Left-arm spinners Vishal Dabholkar, Harmeet Singh and offie Jay Bista bowled 46 overs among themselves but managed to get just one wicket in opener Ashish Singh. Singh played Dabholkar on the front foot and missed the line to be adjudged leg before at 44.
Seamers Dhawal Kulkarni and Shardul Thakur did put some pressure with the new ball initially, but the wicket couldn’t do much with the wicket being on the slower side.
Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit appeared unhappy with the proceedings. “It was one of those bad days. However, the credit should be given to the batsmen too who showd good application. We were little unlucky that we couldn’t get the breakthroughs even though Shardul and Dhawal bowled well,” he said.
Pandit was critical of the spinners. “Spinners could have bowled better a line and length,” he said.
The former India player is positive though. “I would say we are still in the game. We are looking to play better cricket and it is not the end of the world. We are taking it in the right spirit.”
With a decent lead, bottom-placed Railways, who have nothing to lose, are expected to go all out for a win by giving Mumbai a challenging target of anything between 275 and 300, and that would make the last day al the more interesting.
In Guwahati: Delhi 149 & (O/N: 101/4) 172 all out (JS Mohammed 3/49, A Verma 3/42)) vs Assam 70/3 (R Hazarika 30*)
In Rohtak: Odisha 529/6 dec vs Haryana (O/N: 38/0) 216 all out (N Saini 51; B Mohanty 3/51, S Pradhan 3/53) & 46/1
In Pune: Bengal 528/8dec vs Maharashtra 296/3 (R Tripathi 116, S Atitkar 69, A Bawne 59*)
In Nagpur: Rajasthan 216 & 226/9 (V Saxena 54, A Menaria 76; A Sarwate 4/58, R Jangid 3/31) vs Vidarbha (O/N: 202/6) 247 (A Sarwate 50; K Ajay Singh 4/60, R Bhatia 3/21)
In Vadodara: Baroda 475 beat Punjab (O/N: 112/3) 212 all out (Uday Kaul 58, Irfan Pathan 3/61, M Patel 3/54, H Pandya 3/50) & 147 all out (S Kaul 40; I Pathan 3/19, M Patel 3/19) by an innings & 116 runs. Bar 7pts, Pun: 0
In Surat: Gujarat 311 & 202/9 dec (P Panchal 38; J Saxena 6/60) vs Madhya Pradesh (O/N: 187/7) (J Bumrah 3/46) & 4/0
In Kanpur: Uttar Pradesh 348 & 273/5dec (S Raina 145*, A Shaukat 75) vs Tamil Nadu (O/N: 174/6) 231 all out (M Rangarajan 45; P Kumar 4/65) & 5/0
In Porvorim: Kerala 441 beat Goa (O/N: 81/2) 191 all out (S Warrier 6/44) & 167 all out (S Warrier 3/31) by an innings & 83 runs. Ker: 7pts, Goa 0
In Rajkot: Himachal Pradesh 551 vs Saurashtra (O/N: 21/0) 261/6 (J Shah 96*, C Jani 56)
In Delhi: Services 353 & 77/3 vs Hyderabad 272 all out (P Reddy 125, D Pathania 3/63)
In Agartala: Tripura 166 & 132/9 (M Murasingh 53; S Nadeem 6/35) vs Jharkhand (O/N: 296/3) 394/4 decl (I Jaggi 102*, K Deborat 63)