Day One was a dream for the Services. They did everything right to start with. Reducing Mumbai to 199 for six was no mean feat. How they have been snapped awake. Their bowlers failed to take a single wicket in the 65 overs on Thursday.
In all, Mumbai added another 181 runs and closed at 380/6, courtesy skipper Ajit Agarkar and Aditya Tare’s unbeaten tons. This was Tare’s second hundred of the season, the earlier being 222 against Saurashtra at Rajkot. Agarkar’s last Ranji hundred came in the 2009-10 season against Himachal Pradesh.
On a slow and sluggish pitch, Services three-pronged pace attack failed to have an impact. Their pace spearhead Suraj Yadav bowled just four overs before retiring for the day. He was reportedly down with fatigue. The enormous workload Yadav had in the league games may have started to tell on him.
His pace partners, Nishan Singh and Shadab Nazar, looked pedestrian. They failed to make most of the new ball and overcast conditions.
If Agarkar was pushing for quick singles, Tare frustrated Services with his defensive play. Tare delighted with the occasional boundary and managed to get to the triple figure ahead of his skipper. A fine late cut through slip for four off Nakul Verma got him a well-deserved hundred. Soon, Agarkar reached his hundred with a gently-tapped single on the on-side.
“We have survived a difficult time and would like to score as many runs as possible in our first innings. Being a six-day match, we don’t really have to worry about time,” Agarkar said.
Services believe that they can still make a match of it. “We’ve enough batting strength to chase down a good total and that’s what we’ve done till date to reach this far,” one of their officials said.
SCORECARD: Mumbai 1st innings (O/N: 199/6): A Tare batting 108, A Agarkar batting 113; Extras: (B6, LB4, W1, NB4) 15; Total: (6 wickets; 143 overs) 380 (2.65 runs per over); Bowling: S Yadav 24-9-49-2, N Singh 31-6-76-1 (NB4, W1), S Nazar 39-11-104-2, A Sinha 29-8-75-1, Y Singh 5-0-23-0, N Verma 9-1-33-0, P Desai 5-2-6-0, R Paliwal 1-0-4-0