Himachal Pradesh opener Bhavin Thakkar failed to make it a memorable homecoming in his first match in Mumbai this season. The former Mumbai batsman got out on 88 after spending 335 minutes at the crease. But his 266-ball innings gave Himachal the first innings lead, something that would stand them in good stead against the defending champions.
Himachal took their score to 246 from the overnight 100 for 3. After losing Vinit Indulkar and Mukesh Sharma in the first session, the visitors temporarily held up Mumbai's push for quick wickets though they struggled to score runs against the spinners. Iqbal Abdulla and Harmeet Singh turned the screws on the visitors after lunch and mopped up the tail, picking up four wickets each.
Abdulla first accounted for Sharma’s wicket when he swooped down on the ball at point and sent a direct throw to run him out at the non-striker's end. But the left-arm spinner was overjoyed when Thakkar's timber was disturbed while attempting a sweep shot. Harmeet's flight and turn remained the talking point as the 17-year-old returned figures of 4 for 89 on debut. Though he was occasionally short, allowing the batsmen to score freely, Singh was not scared to give the ball flight.
The youngster was all smiles when he won a small duel with Ashok Thakur. The Himachal skipper started throwing his bat at anything loose and was scoring runs in boundaries.
But Singh tossed one up, luring Thakur into a wild heave and Vinayak Samant was quick to stump the batsman.
In the end, Mumbai's desire to avoid humiliation proved a greater incentive.
Sahil Kukreja and Ajinkya Rahane began Mumbai's second essay in right earnest.
Kukreja hurled some of his trademark strokes through the off side, as he remained unbeaten on 33 with Ajinkya Rahane (37 n.o.) for company.
At 73 for no loss at the end of the second day's play, Mumbai were only 11 runs short of Himachal's 84-run first innings lead. From here on, Mumbai will only fight for an outright victory.
Sarandeep called for chucking
Himachal offie Sarandeep Singh got into trouble after square leg umpire Sanjeev Rao called him for chucking on Wednesday. Singh, who had sent down 11.1 overs in the first innings, got his first warning while bowling to Ajinkya Rahane in his third over in Mumbai's second essay.
The BCCI had recently instructed umpires to call anyone believed to be chucking.