Cricket

Ranji Trophy | Sarfaraz, Lad come to the party

On song: Sarfaraz Khan’s unbeaten century was laced with his trademark shots.

On song: Sarfaraz Khan’s unbeaten century was laced with his trademark shots.  

Their 210-run stand keeps Mumbai in the hunt

Sarfaraz Khan (132 n.o., 160b, 14x4, 6x6) and Siddhesh Lad’s (98, 174b, 10x4, 1x6) 210-run partnership for the fifth wicket ensured the last day of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy Group B game against Uttar Pradesh will be anything but a drag at the Wankhede Stadium.

Thanks to the duo’s exploits, the host kept itself in the hunt for an improbable task of overhauling Uttar Pradesh’s first innings total of 625. However, UP’s defensive tactics paid off, 20-odd minutes before stumps, as Lad chased a wide one by part-time left-arm spinner Mohammad Saif to help the tourist’s regain the advantage.

At 353 for five, Sarfaraz and captain Aditya Tare will know that with the new ball just four overs old, they have an uphill task to get Mumbai back in the game.

The day, however, belonged to Sarfaraz and Lad, both of whom had a point to prove. While Sarfaraz was playing against UP for the first time since returning to Mumbai after a two-year stint with UP, Lad was coming into the game with just 30 runs from five innings this season.

Good start

But with a flat deck to their assistance, and rookies Bhupen Lalwani (43, 80b, 5x4) and Hardik Tamore (51, 94b, 10x4) having negotiated early moisture, the stage was set for the duo to turn the tide.

Sarfaraz looked fluent ever since replacing Lalwani before lunch, after the opener fell to an incoming delivery by pacer Wajid ali, while Lad was rusty at the start after Ankit Rajpoot’s skidder had breached Tamore’s defence.

While Lad played delightful cuts and drives, Sarfaraz drove with panache, even employing his trademark upper cut with aplomb. The standout feature of his innings was his temperament and the ability to break the shackles by taking the aerial route. When UP employed defensive tactics in the last session, Sarfaraz twice hit two sixes off consecutive balls, off Wajid and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar.

But more than the lofted drive off Wajid that sailed over the bowler’s head into the sightscreen, the pick of Sarfaraz’s knock was the on-the-rise six off Rajpoot over mid-off that landed in the stands.

The scores:

Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: 625/8 decl.

Mumbai —1st innings: Jay Bista c Shaukat b Rajpoot 3, Bhupen Lalwani lbw b Wajid 43, Shashank Attarde c Saif b Rajpoot 9, Hardik Tamore b Rajpoot 51, Siddhesh Lad c Upendra b Saif 98, Sarfaraz Khan (batting) 132, Aditya Tare (batting) 9; Extras (b-4, lb-1, nb-1, w-2) 8; Total (for five wkts. in 90 overs): 353.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-16, 3-91, 4-128, 5-338.

Uttar Pradesh bowling: Rajpoot 21-4-63-3, Dayal 26-3-84-0, Wajid 12-0-80-1, Saurabh 22-3-92-0, Akshdeep 4-0-16-0, Saif 5-1-13-1.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 8:56:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ranji-trophy-sarfaraz-lad-come-to-the-party/article30618679.ece

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