Sarfaraz Khan (226 n.o., 213b, 32×4, 4×6) continued his sensational form with a stellar unbeaten double hundred to bail Mumbai out of trouble on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match against Himachal Pradesh at the scenic HPCA Stadium on Monday.
Sarfaraz’s belligerent innings, days after his unbeaten 301, along with sensible knocks by captain Aditya Tare (62, 100b, 8×4) and Shubham Ranjane (44 n.o., 75b, 7×4) meant Mumbai not only recovered from a precarious 16 for three but ended the opening day at 372 for five.
After asking Mumbai to bat, the new-ball duo of Abhinay Kanwar and Vaibhav Arora sent back the top-three, but nothing went in Himachal’s favour after that.
Arora sent down two charming in-swingers in the fourth over that got the openers — both shouldering arms. Jay Bista was rapped on the pads and Bhupen Lalwani’s off-stump was uprooted.
When Kanwar castled Hardik Tamore, who was late on the ball off a straight one in the next over, Mumbai was in danger of folding up early. But, Sarfaraz took the pressure off a stuttering Siddhesh Lad by taking the attack to the opposition. Once the moisture evaporated, Sarfaraz was into his stride.
Despite losing Lad, Sarfaraz crossed fifty as Mumbai ended the session at 118 for four. The next two sessions saw Sarfaraz literally kill the contest. He raced from 52 to 100 in just half an hour after lunch, with his five fours in a Pankaj Jaswal over being the highlight.
Similarly, despite watching Tare chase a wide one from Raghav Dhawan to be caught behind and end the 143-run partnership, Sarfaraz launched another assault after tea. The bowlers were left clueless as he raced from 132 to 200 off just 43 balls.
Ranjane and Sarfaraz have put on 158 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket off 157 balls.
Mumbai — 1st innings: Jay Bista lbw b Arora 12, Bhupen Lalwani b Arora 1, Hardik Tamore lbw b Kanwar 2, Siddhesh Lad b Dhawan 20, Sarfaraz Khan (batting) 226, Aditya Tare c Kalsi b Dhawan 62, Shubham Ranjane (batting) 44; Extras (w-5): 5; Total (for 5 wkts. in 75 overs): 372.
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-14, 3-16, 4-71, 5-214.
Himachal bowling: Kanwar 21-4-91-1, Arora 10-2-28-2, Jaswal 11-1-71-0, Dhawan 12-0-81-2, Vashisht 14-0-77-0, Chopra 7-1-24-0.