What do you do if you are thrown into the deep sea. If you know how to swim, you will save yourself. Otherwise, you drown.
Put in a similar situation, the young Mumbai team is struggling to save themselves. Till last year, they had the likes of the Tendulkars, Agarkars and Powars to bail them out. Zaheer Khan did it before he was called to serve the nation in South Africa. But now they have none except Wasim Jaffer.
On Sunday, the young Mumbai players had the opportunity to justify their places in the team. But they disappointed. For the first time this season, the mulitple Ranji Trophy champs conceded the first innings lead after they folded up for 265 against bottom-placed Jharkhand, who made 351 in their first innings.
Mumbai, with their ordinary bowling, brought down Jharkhand to 176 for five at stumps in the second innings on the third day of the Ranji Trophy encounter at the Wankhede. The visitors are up by 262 runs.
It was not that Jharkhand had an extraordinary batting line-up, but the Mumbai bowlers struggled to put up a fight. Javed Khan failed to bowl a consistent line and bowled short while Shardul Thakur was back to being wayward.
Meanwhile, Jharkhand openers Bhavin Thakkar (39, 100b) and Rameez Nemat (32, 62b) crawled to their 65-run first wicket stand. Had skipper Abhishek Nayar not taken the responsibility on himself of providing the breakthrough, the openers would have gone on. Nemat edged Nayar to the Suryakumar Yadav at first slip. A little later, left-arm spinner Vishal Dhabolkar sent a well-set Thakkar back, caught bat-pad by Hiken Shah on silly point. A misunderstanding saw Bhavik Thakker (3) run out.
Once Saurabh Tiwary was in, it was the same old story. He had an able partner in Ishank Jaggi. The southpaw was as merciless as he was in the first innings when he hit a double ton. He did his job of hammering the Mumbai bowlers with aplomb. Jaggi (51*) was stylish and frustrated the bowlers with drives and cuts.
When it seemed that Tiwary would get another big score, Khan got Tiwary’s edge that went straight to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, bringing some relief to the Mumbai camp. It ended a 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Khan got his second wicket in Pappu Singh, who left an incoming delivery and was castled.
Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav (63) and Hiken Shah (58) floundered the opportunity to impress as they failed to get Mumbai past Jharkhand’s first innings score. They added only 26 runs to the overnight score of 210/5 before the duo departed in quick succession. The rest of the team were packed up for 265.
Brief scores: Jharkhand 351 & 176/5 in 65 overs (I Jaggi 51 batting, S Tiwary 38; J Khan 2/23) vs Mumbai 265 all out in 91.5 overes (H Shah 58, S Yadav 63; V Aaron 4/42, S Nadeem 3/65)