Hard-hitting batsman Saurabh Tiwary rescued Jharkhand with a blistering, career-best 175 not out as holders Mumbai lost the plot and allowed the visitors to escape to 262 for 8 on day one of their four-day Ranji Trophy Group A fixture here today.
Tiwary slammed eight cleanly-hit sixes and struck 15 fours to send the cocky Mumbai bowling attack scurrying for cover after the hosts, after asking Jharkhand to bat first on a Wankhede Stadium wicket having good bounce, had taken the upper hand before tea by reducing the visitors to 180 for 8.
The 23-year-old Jamshedpur-born left hander, who came in when his side was tottering at 13 for 2 in the 7th over, took the Mumbai attack by the scruff of its neck in his 304-minute knock in which he faced 212 balls.
By the end of the day the home team was clueless on how to stop him or break his 82-run 9th wicket partnership with tailender Shiv Shankar Rao (5 not out in 123 minutes).
Tiwary struk beautifully as Mumbai went on the defensive by posting all the fielders on the boundary line against him and tried their best to prise out Rao at the other end without success even after bowling 64 balls to the latter.
Tiwary, who notched up his first ton of the season which bettered his previous career-best of 169, raced to his century with a single in 144 balls with 13 fours and three sixes. He then went on a six-hitting spree by carting the bowlers mainly over the leg side when they tried to bounce him out.
The tall batsman, who has played for Mumbai Indians in IPL and knows Wankhede ground well, registered his tenth first class hundred after all the other top order batsmen found the going tough against the Mumbai pace and spin attack.
Medium pacer Javed Khan was the most successful bowler with 4 for 61, including the wickets of both openers Bhavin Thakker and Rameez Nemat which he secured cheaply. Fellow medium pacer Shardul Thakur and left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar bagged two wickets apiece.
Mumbai were on top in the first session though Tiwary was already in his elements driving and flicking the bowling around to be unbeaten on 54 in a team score of 100 for 4 in 34 overs.
Dabholkar and Thakur sent back Bhavik and Ishant Jaggi respectively.
Though Tiwary completed his century and was unbeaten on 114 in a team score of 195 for 8, the reigning champions had things well under control at this stage.
However, Mumbai's strategy was strange after tea. Instead of attacking from both ends, they targeted Rao without success as Tiwary invariably took a single off the 4th or 5th balls and the tailender stayed put.
The hosts summoned the new ball at 240 for 8 when it was due, but failed to break the 9th wicket stand.
Tiwary, who was fed repeatedly on the legs or was given short balls to hit for fours and sixes often, and Rao added runs at a fast clip and at stumps the hosts were at their wits' end.
Brief scores: Jharkhand 262 for 8 (Bhavik Thakar 28, Saurabh Tiwary batting 175, S S Rao batting 5; Javed Khan 4 for 61) v Mumbai.