Even though the second day of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy Super League tie saw only 36 overs of play, there was no lack of action at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla Complex facility all through Thursday.
The ground staff began their mission to dry up the wicket and the bowlers’ run-up from very early in the morning even, ignoring the murky conditions. Despite the MCA boasting the BKC facility to be an ultramodern facility, their failure in taking care of the ground was exposed when they had to burn coal to dry up the wicket. It cannot be ignored that rainwater had seeped into the wicket because of poor quality of covers.
But the sweat and toil of the ground staff, which increased as the sky started clearing up, was finally rewarded when Mumbai had Assam’s backs to the wall at the end of the two-and-half hour session. The visitors failed to cope up with the seam-friendly conditions and a quality bowling attack to end the day at 81 for three.
Seasoned Ajit Agarkar started the rot by disturbing the woodwork to see the back of opener Sib Sankar Roy, who along with Dheeraaj Jadhav deprived Mumbai’s seam trio of a breakthrough for almost two hours.
As veteran Sridharan Sriram joined Jadhav, the all-southpaw combination seized the initiative in the next 20-odd minutes. But Abhishek Nayar, the man with a mission on his comeback trail after an ankle injury, had other plans. He first forced Sriram into a false pull shot and in his next over, got the prize scalp of Assam skipper Amol Muzumdar.
The former Mumbai stalwart made the mistake of opening up his arms to see the ball crashing into the stumps, just nine minutes after walking on to the wicket.
“Amol’s was obviously a prize scalp,” a “satisfied” Nayar said after stumps. Nayar, however, said there was a “long way to go” for him and his team in the match. Brief scores: Assam 81 for 3 in 36 overs (Dheeraaj Jadhav 25 batting; Abhishek Nayar 2-17)