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Monday, November 17, 2008

Delhi let off the hook by Mumbai

Mumbai had a dismal start to the day and it ended on only a slightly better note. Losing a flurry of wickets to an inexperienced Delhi pace attack, they failed to get the massive total that looked imminent after their domination on the opening day.

Later, the success of ripping through the opposition’s top order too could not be capitalized on as they ran into a stiff resistance that promised to make the contest an engrossing one.

Mumbai, restricted to 330 despite a fabulous double-century partnership between Ajinkya Rahane (160) and Amol Muzumdar (83), had a fruitless final session that saw Delhi claw back with 176 for four after being reduced to 79 for four just before tea. At close, Mithun Manhas was batting on a defiant 72 and Rajat Bhatia on a determined 45, their unbroken 97-run partnership keeping Delhi in the contest for the first innings lead.

On a day that belonged to pace bowlers, Mumbai looked set to emulate Delhi. Ajit Agarkar produced an excellent delivery that saw opener Shikhar Dhawan getting castled.

The seam bowler also sent the stumps cart-wheeling to get rid of Aditya Jain. With Dhawal Kulkarni getting rid of Aakash Chopra and Usman Malvi dismissing Mayank Tehlan, Mumbai were once again in the driver’s seat. However, Manhas and Bhatia negotiated the pace bowlers with tact and experienced spinners Sairaj Bahutule and Ramesh Powar with ease.

Earlier, the Delhi attack, that had looked toothless on the opening day, came up with a superb performance after the second new ball was taken in the third over of the day. Seamers Sumit Narwal and Parvinder Awana shared five wickets this morning to help bowl out Mumbai for just 330 after they resumed at 279-2.

The crucial breakthrough, that ended the 223-run partnership between Rahane and Muzumdar though came from left-arm pacer Pradeep Sangwan. Muzumdar had added just five to his overnight score of 78 when he was trapped leg before by a sharp one from Sangwan.

That opened the floodgates for the home side with Rahane too falling in the next over adding just nine runs to his overnight 151, caught behind off Narwal. His innings lasted 340 minutes, during which he smashed 23 boundaries off 264 deliveries. Mumbai lost their last eight wickets scoring just 51 in 23.3 overs this morning. Narwal and Awana finished with four and three wickets, respectively.

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