It seemed to some that Mumbai had squandered away the advantage after being in a position to post a huge total against Bengal on Day One of the Ranji Trophy final here on Friday. At tea, Mumbai were 204 for three, but at stumps, the score read 281 for five.
Mumbai coach Pravin Amre, though, was content with the total.
“I am satisfied with a total of 281 on the first day,” Amre said. “If we could have kept the last two wickets intact, it would have for a very good day. But Bengal bowled well towards the end. The ball was seaming around the whole day, and it wasn’t easy even for settled batsmen like Wasim (Jaffer).”
Wasim Jaffer, whose 112 was the best knock for Mumbai, was happy with his innings and his fruitful partnership of 187 runs with Sachin Tendulkar that saved Mumbai from a shaky 14 for two.
“Having Sachin (Tendulkar) at the other end was particularly helpful. He just said that we should play positively,” Jaffer said. “The way he batted was not something many can do.”
Asked whether the Test ton in South Africa had helped him gain confidence, Jaffer said, “Yes, but this one has made me happier.”
‘Dropping Jaffer proved costly’
Bengal coach Paras Mhambrey said that his team paid the price for giving Wasim Jaffer an early life in the match. Manoj Tiwary dropped Jaffer at second slip off Ashok Dinda when the batsman was on 14.
“Wasim’s wicket would have made a huge difference,” Mhambrey said.
“He had only scored a few runs then. He is the type of batsman who applies himself and scores big once he’s settled, so you can’t give him chances.”
Mhambrey, however, said Bengal came back in the later part of the match. “It’s still in Mumbai’s favour as 281 is a good score on Day One, but we’ve come back strongly,” he said.
Mhambrey said Bengal’s target was to bowl Mumbai under 350. “We’ll take the new ball tomorrow,” Mhambrey said. “The wicket’s still good and will continue to be that way. It’s not going to open up. They have some batting left in guys like Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar. But we will try to restrict them to less than 350.”