Jaffer gets Mumbai off to a good start; RoI’s Pandey impresses

Just before the shadows lengthened across the pitch, seamer S. Sreesanth celebrated the fall of a fine batsman with gusto. After seven unsuccessful overs, he managed to get an edge off the bat with which Wasim Jaffer had struck beautiful shots and made 80.

Jaffer’s exit left Mumbai at 155 for two at stumps on the second day of the Irani Cup match against Rest of India at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.

Earlier, Rest, resuming at 330 for five, made 526 with Suresh Raina helping himself to a century (134, 169b, 15x4, 4x6).

While the batsmen found their touch and scored runs, much of the focus was first on Dhawal Kulkarni in the morning session and thereafter on the Rest’s seam pack of Sreesanth, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ishwar Pandey. It was refreshing to see the tyro Pandey make a mark in an important match, and also Sreesanth's return.

Pandey, who succeeded to a large extent on a helpful surface at Indore’s Usharaje ground, was in the spotlight having been chosen ahead of Bengal’s Mohammad Shami and asked to share the new ball with Sreesanth.

When Jaffer caressed two boundaries off Sreesanth in the first over and the tall Aditya Tare diverted Pandey’s first ball to the mid wicket fence, it just about confirmed the placid nature of the pitch on which Rest had batted for almost ten hours.

Pandey had his moment though when in the third ball of his second over, Tare pushed hard and the thick edge carried the ball to Manoj Tiwary at gully. The Madhya Pradesh bowler, standing at 6’2’’, who came into bowl came about 45 minutes after lunch, can neither be put in the express fast category nor did he bend his back to extract lift; he seemed intent to manipulate the seam and exercise control over his line and length in his opening spell of seven overs before the tea interval.

While Pandey got a breakthough, Sreesanth and Abhimanyu Mithun, probably in contention for fast bowling slots in the Indian team, may have been disappointed with the pitch and their effort.

Sreesanth managed to make the ball swerve a bit but when he tended to pitch short and gave width, Jaffer punished him. After Tare’s departure, Jaffer and Rahane played without qualms against the pacers and spin bowled by left-armer Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh. Ambati Rayudu kept wicket for the injured Wriddhiman Saha.

The scores:

Rest of India — 1st innings: S. Dhawan b Thakur 63, M. Vijay b Nayar 116, M. Tiwary lbw b Nayar 37, A. Rayudu c Jaffer b Sharma 51, S. Raina c Thakur b Chavan 134, W. Saha lbw b Kulkarni 17, Harbhajan c Nayar b Kulkarni 16, A. Mithun lbw b Chavan 51, P. Ojha c Kulkarni b Dabholkar 0, S. Sreesanth (not out) 1, I. Pandey c Rahane b Chavan 13; Extras (b-8, lb-6, nb-9,w-4): 27; Total (in 130.1 overs): 526.

Fall of wickets: 1-144, 2-222, 3-231, 4-309, 5-330, 6-352, 7-505, 8-506, 9-512.

Mumbai bowling: Javed Khan 18-6-45-0, Kulkarni 27-5-107-2, Thakur 18-1-82-1, Dabholkar 26-3-119-1, Nayar 25-10-70-2, Chavan 10.1-1-56-3, Rohit 6-2-33-1.

Mumbai — 1st innings: W. Jaffer c Rayudu b Sreesanth 80, A. Tare c Tiwary b Pandey 6, A. Rahane (batting) 55, S. Thakur (batting) 4; Extras (b-5, lb-4, w-1) 10; Total (for two wkts. in 43 overs): 155.

Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-146.

Rest of India bowling: Sreesanth 9-3-33-1, Pandey 11-4-33-1, Mithun 9-1-30-0, Ojha 7-1-29-0, Harbhajan 7-0-21-0.

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