Ravindra Jadeja’s gutsy 77 and Munaf Patel’s brisk unbeaten 36 guided Rest of India to 260 in their first innings on the opening day of their Irani Trophy match against Ranji Champions Mumbai here on Thursday.
Rest Of India were in for an early shock as India discard Ajit Agarkar (3/45) removed rival captain Virender Sehwag (10) in the fifth over and then ended the 69-run stand between Murali Vijay (17) and Abhinav Mukund (47) by castling the latter to unhinge the side.
Down the order, Jadeja waged a grim battle and top-scored with a 121-ball 77 and things could have been worse for Rest of India had Munaf Patel not come up with some lusty blows during his 34-ball 36 before he ran out of partners.
In reply, Mumbai were 38 without loss at stumps with Sahil Kukreja (11) and old warhorse Wasim Jaffer (24) seeing off the final eight overs.
All eyes were on Sehwag, who was returning to competitive cricket after a shoulder surgery, but the star opener let his team down and fell to Agarkar early in the innings.
Vijay and Mukund stemmed the rot but once Agarkar broke their stand, Rest of India witnessed a middle order collapse.
Dhawal Kulkarni ended Vijay’s long vigil at the crease after the batsman struggled his way to 17 after facing 76 balls.
Jadeja, however, stood tall amid ruins and played sensibly.
With S. Badrinath (13), Manoj Tiwary (9) and Wriddhiman Saha (4) perishing in quick successions, Jadeja took the responsibility on his shoulder to lift the side which had lost its top half by the time they reached 121.
The left-hander showed tremendous grit under pressure and found an able partner in Munaf, who is not exactly known for his batting exploits.
The duo added 65 runs to take the side past the 250-mark before Jadeja got out.
Jadeja’s gritty knock included nine hits to the fence while Munaf’s unbeaten cameo was studded with three fours and a couple of sixes.
For Mumbai, Kulkarni (2/33) and Ramesh Powar (2/58) were also among the wickets.