The disappointment of missing out on a berth in the India squad was visible on Rohit Sharma’s face as he watched on TV Sehwag & Co. butcher the Sri Lankan attack in the first ODI at Rajkot.
The 22-year-old was, however, determined to have a party of his own at the Cricket Club of India where the national side rose to the top in Test rankings just over a week ago. A cracking straight drive off the very second ball he faced made his intentions clear and by the time the umpires called stumps, Sharma had raced to 145 runs in 152 balls with 20 boundaries and three sixes.
Mumbai were 352 for three and would look to bat Gujarat out of the match on Wednesday.
Sharma found an ideal foil in opener Sushant Marathe, who made the most of two lives to score a patient hundred, as the duo added 223 for the unbeaten fourth wicket. Marathe was on 39 when Sharma came in to bat but the latter overtook him soon after completing his 48-ball 50.
While Sharma missed no opportunity to drive and pull the pacemen and stepped out every time leg-spinner Salil Yadav tossed
up the ball, Marathe played the sheet anchor and concentrated on remaining not out till the end of day. Marathe, one of the four changes in the side that faced Tamil Nadu in the last match, eventually reached his 100 in 252 balls and though he did take the aerial route after that, he never looked in any hurry.
Earlier, Mumbai made a sedate start after being put into bat. They lost Sahil Kukreja early but Marathe and Ajinkya Rahane steadied the ship as the hosts went to lunch without further damage.
But Tatsat Brahmbhatt disturbed Rahane’s woodwork on the very first ball after lunch and when skipper Wasim Jaffer (23 off 21) played one on to his stumps off Ishwar Choudhary, the visitors might have smelt an opening. Things could have been different had Jay Desai at square-leg held on to a catch offered by Marathe when the left-hander tried to pull Brahmbhatt when on 39.
Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel was laid low by fever and did not take the field after lunch.
Neeraj Patel led the side in his absence with Sunny Patel donning the wicketkeeper’s gloves.