Jaipur: Rajasthan skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar and opener Vineet Saxena struck fine centuries while adding 220 for the second wicket to power the Ranji Trophy holders to 269 for 2 on day one of their second-round match against Mumbai here on Friday.
The day began with Rohit Sharma, leading Mumbai in the absence of Ajit Agarkar, opting to field on a surface with a tinge of grass on it. There was a hint of lateral movement off the pitch for the fast bowlers early on in the innings and Kshemal Waingankar snared Ankit Lamba for 9 in the second over. Lamba played away from the body to the delivery which nipped away and an edge flew to first slip where Rohit took a fine catch.
Kanitkar strode in to bat at No. 3 and looked in superb touch right from the word go. He unfurled a flurry of cover drives and steadied Rajasthan's innings along with Saxena, who was scratchy in the initial phase of his innings and beaten on numerous occasions outside off stump.
The Rajasthan captain hit his 32nd first-class ton and Saxena his 11th.
Kanitkar reached his half-century in the 24th over of the innings by striking a boundary off Abhishek Nayar. Saxena played around Kanitkar and survived the difficult phase with grit. He grew in confidence as the innings progressed and started using his feet when the spinners came into the attack. Saxena played a couple of lofty strokes over mid-on off Ankeet Chavan and Romesh Pawar as Rajasthan took lunch at 126 for 1 in 37 overs.
Barring some uneven bounce on a couple of occasions the surface didn't offer any assistance to the bowlers. Saxena duly completed his half-century after lunch, off 117 balls, and Kanitkar kept the Mumbai bowlers at bay as the pitch flattened out completely. With Saxena solid at one end, Kanitkar continued to flay the bowlers with imperious felicity. He cut Dhawal Kulkarni for a couple of boundaries as Rajasthan went past 150 in 56th over and reached his 32nd first-class century by gliding the ball to the fine-leg boundary in the penultimate over of the second session.
From 198 for 1 at tea, Rajasthan reached 200 in the 66th over and continued to milk the Mumbai bowlers. Kanitkar was trapped lbw after scoring a fluent 119 off 192 balls, inclusive of 17 fours, when he played forward to a slider from Chavan which hit him on the front pad.
Robin Bist and Saxena negotiated the rest of the overs with utmost caution. Saxena looked uneasy during the nineties and in desperation of get his hundred even played a couple of false shots. He eventually got to the landmark by steering Sharul Thakur to backward point for a couple; it took him 287 balls and he hit 15 boundaries and one six off Chavan.
Brief score: Rajasthan 269 for 2 in 90 overs (Hrishikesh Kanitkar 119, Vineet Saxena 114*) v Mumbai