Dropped catches, poor planning coupled with an inconsistent line and length meant Mumbai conceded 321 runs against Baroda in their second innings on Day Three. Baroda rode on the opening partnership of 177 runs between Kedar Devdhar (145) and Aditya Waghmare (66) to take a lead of 303 runs with a day’s play to go. Deepak Hooda built on the start with a quickfire unbeaten knock of 66 in the final session to help Baroda reach a total from where they can make a match of it.
Earlier in the day, Mumbai, who had taken an 18-run first innings lead, looked average on the field.
The new ball bowlers, Shardul Thakur and Balwinder Sandhu, were wasteful, faltering in their lines to leak runs. Devdhar and Waghmare scored off them at will. Devdhar was the dominant one and at lunch, Baroda had cruised to 95 in just 27 overs.
Mumbai’s ploy to save runs by opening the field did not work as well. Captain Aditya Tare’s plan was clear: by putting the point and square-leg fielder on the ropes he wanted to bring the slip cordon into action. The bowlers were asked to force Devdhar and Waghmode to go for the cut shots.
Sandhu was more effective with the semi-new ball as he pitched it in the corridor and kept things tight. From the other end, spinner Vijay Gohil was a major let-down as he not only failed to contain the batsmen but also bowled short allowing the batsmen to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Devdhar’s knock had 63 singles, 9 two-threes and 16 fours, with most of his runs coming in the square-leg region.
Another reason why the Mumbai pacers were ineffective at Palam was the placid wicket. The ball didn’t offer much turn, giving the Baroda batsmen the licence to jump out to Gohil and collect runs. For the pacers, there was not much bounce on offer, meaning the short ones were easily nudged for runs square of the wicket. The match spiced up after lunch though.
“Our plan was to dominate one of the bowlers. In this case, it was the spinner as the ball didn’t turn much and gave us the freedom to use our feet,” said Devdhar.
Batting on 91, Devdhar almost fell to Nayar who was brought on to slow down proceedings, but his edge went through slips.
That wasn’t all. At 96, he slashed a Nayar delivery to gully but the fielder failed to hold on. At 105, he drove Nayar uppishly to deep cover, but Thakur gave him his third life.
The platform was set by the top-order for Baroda and they needed to step up their run rate to reach 300 by the close of play. Hooda began strongly, dispatching Sandhu over mid-on for four on the very first ball. Hooda’s 75-ball innings was laced with paddle sweeps, dilscoops and reverse sweeps.
Baroda: 305 & 321/5 (Kedar Devdhar 145, Deepak Hooda 66, Aditya Waghmode 66); Mumbai 1st Innings: 323