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Mumbai inch ahead in Ranji Trophy final after topsy-turvy Day 2

Shreyas Iyer ad Jaydev Unadkat were the stars on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy final

Shreyas Iyer ad Jaydev Unadkat were the stars on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy final

Mumbai have finished Day 2 of the ongoing Ranji Trophy Final at the MCA Stadium in Pune with a first innings lead of 27 runs over Saurashtra’s 235, with Siddhesh Lad (22*) and No.10 batsman Iqbal Abdulla (9*) finishing the day unbeaten.

In a day of extremes, Saurashtra enjoyed the first half hour of play, when their No.10 batsman Jaydev Unadkat played a very attacking knock of 31 off 26 balls. His partnership with Prerak Mankad took Saurashtra’s first innings total to a respectable 235, after their batsmen had been undone by the grassy Pune pitch on Day 1.

Had it not been for the lower order, Saurashtra would not have been able to even put up a contesting total.

The beginning of Mumbai’s batting innings was very auspicious for Saurashtra as well, with Unadkat castling both openers cheaply. However, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav came together at the crease for an unbreachable partnership, which took Mumbai’s score to 175/2.

Iyer closes in on record for most runs in a season

Iyer, whose 142-ball 117 took him to 1321 runs for the season, is only 95 runs short of overtaking VVS Laxman’s record 1415 runs as most runs scored by an individual batsman in a season. Iyer climbed past Kedar Jadhav, Wasim Jaffer and Vijay Bharadwaj in the list of most runs scored in a season by a batsman. It will be interesting to see whether Iyer does score 95 runs or more in the rest of this match.

The 2015/16 season has been lorded by Iyer like very few previous seasons in the history of Indian domestic cricket. The second highest scorer this year has been Iyer’s Mumbai teammate Akhil Herwadkar, who has scored 442 runs less than him.

This was the 21-year-old Iyer’s fourth century of the season, and his sixth at the first class level. His century came in very quick time, but he slowed his scoring rate down towards the end of the lunch session.

Saurashtra got back into the game in the post-tea session, reducing Mumbai from 184/3 to 262/8 at close of play. As two quick wickets fell immediately after the interval, the pitch seemed lively again, and the Saurashtra slip cordon started their rythmic clapping routine. They were still ahead on first innings totals, and they would fight to keep the lead.

Abhishek Nayar and Siddhesh Lad took Mumbai’s score just ahead of Saurashtra’s with the last few overs remaining for the day, before Hardik Rathod took wickets in consecutive balls to further put Mumbai on the back foot.

It came out at the end of the day’s play that the third umpire has warned the Saurashtra team for using too much saliva on the ball to generate swing. Saurashtra will be hoping Unadkat can clean up the Mumbai tail quickly when play resumes on Day 3, and that they can overhaul the lead and put up a winning total in the second innings.

Brief Scores: Mumbai 262/8 (Iyer 117, Surya 48; Rathod 3/44, Jani 2/46, Unadkat 2/55) lead Saurashtra (Mankad 66, Unadkat 31; Kulkarni 5/42, Thakur 3/89) by 27 runs

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