Ranji Trophy final: Neither Mumbai nor MP on top in battle of attrition

An overcast Wednesday with a cold breeze and vehicles crawling through clogged roads, all typical Bengaluru traits, also ushered in slow-burn cricket at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. And in typical dogged fashion Mumbai, after opting to bat against Madhya Pradesh, scored 248 for five at close on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy final.

AS IT HAPPENED

Prithvi Shaw (47) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (78) did the hard yards upfront, and Sarfaraz Khan (40 batting) held firm while the birds returned to roost at the nearby Cubbon Park. Mumbai’s steady runs and Madhya Pradesh’s persistence through a four-man attack constituted the day’s overwhelming flavour.

In the morning, after Mumbai skipper Shaw elected to bat, his counterpart Aditya Shrivastava commenced the attack with left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya, replicating his opening gambit from the semifinal against Bengal. Shaw nudged a single, Jaiswal lunged forward to unsettle the spinner and the first over went for five runs.

Feeble ‘RCB’ chants

Through the first session the duo kept the scoreboard ticking while also surviving a near run-out, muffled leg-before-wicket appeals and play-and-miss routines. Seamer Anubhav Agarwal bowled the second over and while there was some movement on offer, Shaw flicked a four. Shrivastava employed his bowlers in short spells, favouring the spin and pace trope while the odd sledging was also on view. The spectators had some constant action to savour and feeble ‘RCB’ chants too surfaced.

Brief Scores

  • Mumbai 248 for 5 in 90 overs (Jaiswal 78, Shaw 47, Sarfaraz 40) vs Madhya Pradesh

Prithvi briefly struggled against seamer Gaurav Yadav in an over that had a surgeon’s precision coated with a seductive lure outside the off-stump. Southpaw Jaiswal square-drove a silken four off off-spinner Saransh Jain and Shaw joined the party, hoisting a six followed by a back-foot punch for four against Kartikeya. But Madhya Pradesh never allowed the openers to feel completely at home despite their 87-run association. Shaw played all over an Agarwal delivery, the timber rattled and later at lunch, Mumbai had 105 for one.

Chipping away

After the break, while Jaiswal continued unhindered, two successive partners – Armaan Jaffer and Suved Parkar – flattered to deceive. Jaffer lobbed one off Kartikeya and Parkar, tentative against Jain, kept the close-in circle happy. But with Sarfaraz joining him in the middle, Jaiswal slashed a four off Yadav. However, against the run of play, Jaiswal’s attempted drive off Agarwal proved fatal.

Sarfaraz then coped with an lbw appeal and found company in Hardik Tamore and Shams Mulani. Ironically, once stumps were drawn, the sun finally peeped out as another day of attrition awaits the rivals.

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