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Sreesanth, Munaf win back lost ground

There can never be a dull moment when S Sreesanth is around. The world has seen his antics — dancing around Andre Nel after clobbering him for a six in a Test, celebrating animatedly after dismissing Andrew Symonds in an ODI, or thumping the pitch after dismissing Matthew Hayden, reports G Krishnan.

cricket Updated: Oct 03, 2009 22:59 IST
G Krishnan

There can never be a dull moment when S Sreesanth is around. The world has seen his antics — dancing around Andre Nel after clobbering him for a six in a Test, celebrating animatedly after dismissing Andrew Symonds in an ODI, or thumping the pitch after dismissing Matthew Hayden.

The 26-year-old Kerala speedster, looking more determined now after a stint at the English county season, invented more ways of celebrating his wickets on Saturday.

They were, however, aimed more at the non-strikers than the batsmen who fell prey to his accuracy.

On the third morning of the Irani Cup here, Sreesanth and Munaf Patel took two wickets each in the 40 minutes that Mumbai lower order lasted. Mumbai were all out for 230, giving Rest of India a 30-run first innings lead.

Rest of India, in their second innings, were 171 without loss with the Tamil Nadu pair of Abhinav Mukund (86 not out) and Murali Vijay (77 not out) grinding the spineless Mumbai bowling to dust for four hours. Even the banana-shaped deliveries of Ajit Agarkar were missing.

Sreesanth, sharing the second new ball that was taken immediately after the start was delayed by 90 minutes due to overnight rain, beat Vinayak Samant's defence with an incutter to uproot the leg-stump. With his hands folded behind Sreesanth teased the non-striker Ramesh Powar.

The exchange of words between Sreesanth and Powar has been going on since Friday evening, though within limits.

In the next over, Munaf outwitted Powar by beating his defence with a sharp incoming delivery that started from outside the off-stump and hitting the top of the middle stump.

Number 10 Dhawal Kulkarni picked Munaf Patel for five boundaries, all clean strokes.

Kulkarni too had verbal exchanges with Sreesanth as Mumbai neared Rest's total. When Iqbal Abdulla edged a Sreesanth short delivery to Wriddiman Saha, Sreesanth folded his palms as if to say 'namaste' to non-striker Kulkarni, his way of thanking him for charging his batteries.

Things, though, did not get beyond control and Munaf picked his fifth wicket when Kulkarni skied him to long-off.

Munaf, an otherwise angry young man, was unusually at his best behaviour.

It was the same Munaf, who was reported for unsporting behaviour in last season's Irani Cup against Delhi at Baroda. The Delhi captain Virender Sehwag — Sehwag is leading Munaf here — had lodged a complaint against Munaf's use of abusive language against his batsmen.