Nayar gets in to the century makers’ list

Ajit Agarkar struck a double blow on a day of consolidation for the home team. The Mumbai skipper surprised rival openers Amit Paunikar and Shivakant Shukla with subtle change of pace, for slip fielder Kaustubh Pawar to snap up the catches.

Railways averted further mishap and reached 86 for two, facing Mumbai’s mammoth first innings total of 570 in their Ranji Trophy Group A first round day two action.

Abhishek Nayar’s hard-earned century (107 not out off 164 balls) enabled the host build on its overnight 344 for four. Mumbai stretched its first innings to 151 overs, testing the Railways fielders’ resolve amidst extreme humidity at the Wankhede stadium.

The visitors chased the ball around for 61 overs on Saturday as Ramesh Powar displayed value as a run-maker lower down with a 52-ball 31 (five fours).

Ajinkya Rahane missed out on a chance to showcase his staying power when he was beaten by a sharp in-cutter from Krishnakant Upadhyay.

Nayar’s century was a mix of dogged defence and strong-arm methods. He hit 10 fours and two sixes, one of which took him to his ton.

Anureet Singh and Shivakant Shukla got the wickets for Railways. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik set an example for his younger teammates, pegging away for 41 overs against the formidable Mumbai line-up.

Agarkar was able to gain appreciable lift off the track in the last session, so will be a tricky opponent on Sunday morning. Zaheer Khan and Dhaval Kulkarni hit the length straightaway and gained away movement to induce edges off both openers. Powar grassed one chance before pouching two slip catches.

Railways has in captain Sanjay Bangar (36 no off 47 balls, 3x4, 2x6) the right man in the right place. He understands the Mumbai mentality, having played cricket in the city.

The scores: Mumbai 570 in 151 overs (A. Rahane 129, S. Tendulkar 137, A. Nayar 107 no, A. Tare 47; A. Singh three for 81, S. Shukla three for 53) vs Railways 86 for two in 28 overs (S. Bangar 36 not out).

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