Rohit fails but Mumbai mauls Kiwi bowlers

Suryakumar Yadav (left) and Kaustubh Pawar scored scintillating hundreds against New Zealand in the warm-up match, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

Rohit Sharma failed to be among the runs on a flat track but his Mumbai teammates, Kaustubh Pawar and Suryakumar Yadav, scored contrasting centuries to frustrate New Zealand on the penultimate day of the warm-up match at Firoz Shah Kotla in New Delhi.

Rohit, who managed to retain his place in India’s Test squad for the New Zealand series despite an inconsistent run, was unable to stake a claim to a playing eleven spot in the first Test.

On a flat a wicket, Mumbai batsmen revelled. Pawar scored (100 off 228 balls), Yadav (103 off 86), Siddhesh Lad (86 not out off 62) and rookie Arman Jaffer (69 off 123).

Mumbai, resuming the innings at 29 for one, went on to reach 431 for five by stumps on day two after New Zealand had posted 324 for 7 on the opening day. A total of 402 runs were scored in 90 overs at a run rate of 4.46.

For the visitors, it was a tough day in the field with their bowlers toiling in the sun with little success. Not a lot was expected from the quicker bowlers on a flat deck but the effort from New Zealand’s spin trio of Ish Sodhi (2/132), Mitchell Santer (1/71) and Mark Craig (0/60) was also nothing to write home about.

The spinners were expected to make an impact even though the pitch continued to play true, without offering much turn.

Looking ahead to the Test series, the lone disappointment from the India’s point was the early fall of Rohit, who also featured in the Duleep Trophy final to gain some form.

Walking into the middle after the fall of Jaffer, Rohit took 10 balls to get off the mark but he opened his account in style, a straight hit for a six on the bowling of leg-spinner Sodhi.

However, that was the sole high point of his brief stay as another attempt to hit Sodhi out of the park saw him being stumped.

For that brief period post lunch, Sodhi and left-arm spinner Santer were in the middle of a probing spell, leading to Rohit’s dismissal.

But it was all Mumbai after that as Yadav joined Pawar at the crease. Yadav would have gone back without scoring had Sodhi had not made mess of a regulation catch off his owning bowling. That dropped catch proved costly for New Zealand as Yadav took their attack to the cleaners.

Whether it was the express pace of Trent Boult and Neil Wagner or the three spinners, it did not matter much to Yadav.

Such was his dominance that he brought up his 50 as well as his 100 with a six.

He ended up smashing eight sixes with a majority of them going over mid-wicket, to go with nine fours. He raced to his hundred post tea and was dismissed soon after.

All this while, Pawar held his end as the two shared a 155-run stand for the fourth wicket. He was dropped twice on what was a sloppy day on the field for New Zealand.

Pawar retired out after reaching the three figures, making way for Lad, who also enjoyed his outing alongside captain Aditya Tare (53 not out).

With bowlers tiring out towards the close of play, it was raining sixes and fours at the Kotla.

Earlier, 17-year-old Jaffer, known for his exploits in junior cricket, batted comfortably against the likes of Boult and Wagner.

He had time to play their extra pace and was equally convincing against the spinners. The opener had started his innings on a promising not yesterday, when he perfectly timed a straight drive off Boult before smashing Santer for a six.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 324/7 decl.

Mumbai 431/5 in 103 overs (Yadav 103, Pawar 100, Jaffer 69, Lad ; Sodhi 2/121).