Gritty Tendulkar keeps Mumbai on victory path

Gritty Tendulkar keeps Mumbai on victory path

Gritty Tendulkar keeps Mumbai on victory path
Sachin Tendulkar was a picture of concentration amidst boisterous fans on Tuesday. There was no expansive strokeplay. A bit of silken touches but essentially a hard grind to build the Mumbai innings.  

The wickets kept falling but the master held one end firm. His unbeaten presence in the middle was the only hope for Mumbai, who were 39 runs away from an outright victory in the Ranji Trophy match against Haryana.

Chasing a target of 240, after Haryana could add 17 more to their overnight total of 224/9, Mumbai’s middle order slumped before Tendulkar and Abhishek Nayar calmed the nerves. At stumps, Mumbai were 201/6 with Tendulkar (55, 122b, 4x4) and Dhawal Kulkarni (6) holding the fort for the current champions.

Kaustubh Pawar and Ajinkya Rahane steadied the Mumbai innings by raising a 86-run stand for the second wicket after losing an experienced Wasim Jaffer early. Haryana bowlers put up a spirited effort with their attacking line, astutely directed by captain Ajay Jadeja. It stifled the Mumbai batsmen. The packed stadium, despite a working day, however, only waited restlessly for Tendulkar.

Off-spinner Jayant Yadav ended the wait by knocking the off-stump of Rahane. Tendulkar arrived with the usual fanfare of the spectators going wild, vociferously chanting his name with ear-splitting applause. The impact was deafening, but it never seemed to distract the master from his job.

The Haryana fielders accorded Tendulkar the guard of honour as he stepped out to bat for the final time in a domestic match. The score was 87/2 and Mumbai needed a partnership. With Nayar scoring quick runs, Tendulkar took his time. 

His previous innings had barely lasted eight minutes, the ball grazing the elbow before clattering his stumps. It was, therefore, for all to see how the master came prepared to bat this day.

The elbow guard stood out, the gloves were changed shortly, the bat too. His focus on was taking singles. Ahead of his two farewell Tests next month, it was clear Tendulkar wanted to be confident. He was measured from the start, cautiously reading the line and length of the ball. He was prepared to leave the deliveries and it indicated his desire to bear the responsibility of finishing the game on his own.

Only four boundaries adorned his innings. The first two were rather tentative, but Tendukar’s strokes grew in fluency with time. The last two fours were classic stuff, a cut off Harshal Patel and a rasping cover drive off Mohit Sharma.

His half-century, with a flick off Joginder Sharma for a brace, earned him a standing ovation from the crowd; the master promptly acknowledging their appreciation.

The swift dismissals of Nayar, who played on, and Aditya Tare, run out attempting the third, pegged back Mumbai. Things got only tougher for the defending champions with Haryana only five overs away from taking the new ball. Tendulkar, for the countless time in his career, will come out on Wednesday donning the hat of a saviour.

HARYANA (I Innings): 134 all out
MUMBAI (I Innings): 136 all out

HARYANA (II Innings): Nitin Saini c Tare b Zaheer 9, Rahul Dewan c Tare b Dabholkar 44, Sunny Singh b Kulkarni 63, Abhimanyu Khod c Dabholkar b Zaheer 8, Jayant Yadav b Dabholkar 45, Sachin Rana lbw Dabholkar 19, Ajay Jadeja c Rahane b Zaheer 0, Joginder Sharma c Tare b Zaheer 2, Harshal Patel c & b Kulkarni 33, Mohit Sharma c Pawar b Dabholkar 0, Ashish Hooda (not out) 5. Extras (B-4, W-2, NB-7) 13. Total (all out, 70.2 overs) 241.

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-97, 3-113, 4-153, 5-186, 6-199, 7-201, 8-203, 9-206.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 20-2-62-4, Dhawal Kulkarni 13.2-2-46-2, Javed Khan 10-1-45-0, Abhishek Nayar 10-3-26-0, Kaustubh Pawar 2-1-4-0, Vishal Dabholkar 15-1-54-4.

MUMBAI (II Innings): Wasim Jaffer c Saini b Patel 1, Kaustubh Pawar c Saini b Mohit 47, Ajinkya Rahane b Yadav 40, Sachin Tendulkar (batting) 55, Abhishek Nayar b Hooda 24, Aditya Tare (run out) 3, Hiken Shah c Jadeja b Mohit 8, Dhawal Kulkarni (batting) 6. Extras (B-4, LB-12, NB-1) 17. Total (for 6 wkts, 75 overs) 201.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-87, 3-109, 4-160, 5-167, 6-190.

Bowling: Mohit Sharma 21-3-65-2, Harshal Patel 14-5-33-1, Ashish Hooda 11-4-24-1, Joginder Sharma 9-4-10-0, Sachin Rana 4-0-16-0, Jayant Yadav 16-3-37-1.

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