A stubborn batting display by Punjab all-rounder Gourav Gambhir (50 not out) denied defending champions Mumbai an outright victory in their Ranji opener here on Friday.
Mumbai had to satisfy themselves with three points while Punjab got one. After the home team was done in by the Mumbai attack in its first essay, it put up a much improved performance in the second innings to finish on 311 for 7.
Everything was going as per the script for the visitors before debutant Gambhir came to bat at No. 7. Punjab had lost half their side with 164 on the board. Gambhir batted for more than three hours for his half century. He shared a 56-run stand with Pankaj Dharmani (46; 9x4) for the sixth wicket and a vital 46-run stand with Rahul Sharma (22) for the seventh wicket. Resuming at 55 for one, the overnight pair of Ravi Inder Singh and Uday Kaul showed lot of determination to keep the Mumbai bowlers at bay. The pair added 103 for the second wicket before Ravi was caught behind off Dhawal Kulkarni for 58. That opened the floodgates and soon Punjab were struggling.
However, Gambhir stuck in with Dharmani and Rahul Sharma as Mumbai could pick only two more wickets. They dearly missed the services of off spinner Romesh Pawar, who couldn’t bowl in the second innings due to injury.
Punjab 1st innings 259; n Mumbai 1st inn 471 for 9; n Punjab 2nd Innings (o/n 55 for 1): Inder Singh c Samant b Kulkarni 58, Kaul c Khanvilkar b Rohit 62, Kohli c & b Nayar 12, Dharmani b Nayar 46, Kakkar c Samant b Zaheer 1, G. Gambhir not out 50, R Sharma b Zaheer 22 , Gony not out 33; n Extras (b 2, lb 8, nb 13) 23
Total (for 7 wickets) 311
FoW: 1-6, 2-109, 3-138, 4-159, 5-164, 6-220, 7-266
Bowling: Zaheer 24-7-92-3, Agarkar 20-4-77-0, Kulkarni 23-10-36-1, Rohit 11-2-32-1, Khanvilkar 1-1-0-0, Nayar 18-5-63-2, Rahane 1-0-1-0;