Rajasthan's 18-year-old debutant Ashok Menaria caught Mumbai off guard on the opening day of the new season. Primarily a batsman who normally comes in as a change bowler, Menaria took three wickets for just seven runs, including two in his first over at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday. His left-arm spin fetched him the prized scalp of Rohit Sharma (62) and all-rounders Sairaj Bahutule (0) and Ajit Agarkar (22).
Consequently, Mumbai wore a sorry look with 293 for 8 at stumps. Medium-pacer Sumit Mathur exploited the conditions to get some lateral movement and there were also early signs of turn, something that could play a role as the match progresses.
Skipper Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane settled down firmly with their contrasting styles after Sahil Kukreja fell inside the first hour, hooking Mathur to square leg.
Jaffer and Rahane saw off Pankaj Singh's opening spell in which the pacer extracted bounce. Jaffer was lucky to have been grassed on 13. He also got the benefit of doubt when a clear edge to wicket-keeper Nikhil Doru off speedster Vikrant Yadav was negated by umpire S D Ranade from Pune.
However, after reaching his half-century, Jaffer's (60, 97b, 10x4) attempted glance off Mathur landed into a diving Doru's gloves, terminating the second-wicket stand worth 64.
Amol Muzumdar was unlucky to be given caught behind off Yadav before he could open his account. The Pune umpire seemed to have erred again as the batsman had made contact with his pad and not the ball.
Mumbai were down from 101/1 to 101/3 in quick time.
Rahane seemed to have found an able ally in Rohit Sharma.
Sharma survived some tense moments. Having seen through these stages, he stamped his authority on the rivals, making their bowling look mediocre. Sharma drove attractively over the top and along the lush-green outfield, eluding the diving fielders.
However, as is his wont, Sharma played a reckless shot in Menaria's first over, letting Mumbai down yet again.
Scoreboard: Mumbai 1st innings 293 for 8 in 87 ovrs (Kukreja c Vijay b Mathur 5, Jaffer c Doru b Mathur 60, Rahane lbw b Pankaj 73, Muzumdar c Doru b Yadav 0, Rohit c Rao b Menaria 62, Bahutule c Rao b Menaria 0, Powar c Doru b Yadav 33, Agarkar c Pankaj b Menaria 22, Samant batting 14, Malvi batting 5)
Extras: (lb-15, w-2, nb-2) 19
FoW: 1-37, 2-101, 3-103, 4-209, 5-209, 6-215, 7-258, 8-276
Bowling: P. Singh 23-4-62-1, S. Mathur 21-8-60-2, V. Yadav 21-5-81-2, G. Singh 17-2-61-0, A. Menaria 3-1-7-3, V. Rao 2-0-7-0.