Day of the underdog | india | Hindustan Times
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Day of the underdog

Sharma (113 no) scored his 4th First Class 100 and third of the season while Nayar fell for 99, his third dismissal in the 90s. But the day's hero was Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, picking his third five-wicket haul (5/64), reports G Krishnan.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2009 23:25 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times

On Monday morning, Uttar Pradesh did everything right. Captain Mohammad Kaif won the toss, decided to toss the ball to his bowlers and they kept his faith.

Unbelievably, even as people watched, Mumbai, crumbled to 55-4, unable to understand the movement that a teenager from Meerut was getting. Among his victims were Sachin Tendulkar, gone for his first duck in the Ranji and Wasim Jaffer (1), whose record in finals is amongst the best.

And then they gave it all away. They let almost down and out Mumbai off the hook, with Rohit Sharma and Abhishek Nayar – two friends who began their First Class careers almost simultaneously three seasons back – joining hands to script the rescue act. The duo batted in contrasting styles to raise a crucial 207-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help Mumbai finish day one of the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh at a relatively comfortable 297 for six here on Monday.

Sharma (113 no) scored his fourth First Class 100 and third of the season while Nayar fell for 99, his third dismissal in the 90s. But the day's hero was the 18-year-old medium-pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who justified his captain's decision to bowl first, picking his third five-wicket haul (5/64).

He got the ball to move both ways, confusing the Mumbai top-order. After trapping Jaffer and Vinayak Samant leg before with identical deliveries, the right-armer picked up the prized scalp of Tendulkar. He got the wicket when the batsman nicked a good length delivery on to his pads, the bounce being a little more than Tendulkar anticipated, and the ball popped up to short mid-wicket, where Shivakant Shukla pulled off a smart catch.Batting in the first hour-and-a-half wasn't easy. The pitch was fresh and the moisture assisted sideways movement, helping Praveen Kumar and Bhuvanesh trouble the top order. The mantra for Mumbai was to survive the first 120 minutes, but that wasn't to be.

Adding to Mumbai's woes was an umpiring error by S Tarapore, who ruled Ajinkya Rahane leg before to a RP Singh delivery that pitched outside the line of leg stump.