New Delhi: Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar rose to the occasion and whacked his fourth first-class hundred on Thursday to put his team, which was reeling at 169 for 6 at one stage, in a position of complete dominance against Services in the second Ranji Trophy semi-final against Services. The 35-year-old told reporters after the match that the pitch was on the slower side and one had to grind out to score runs.
"The wicket didn't have any demons but it was on the slower side. The pitch was fresh in the first session and eased out afterwards. One cannot play expensive shots right from the word go. You need patience to score runs on this pitch. This is the reason Aditya Tare and I bade our time in the initial phase and started playing shots once we got settled. Tare showed a lot of composure. He is a naturally aggressive batsman but he adapted his style creditably according to the circumstances. When you start scoring runs, everything - pitch and conditions - take a back seat."
When asked about his favourite shot in the innings, he said in a lighter vein that the single which got him his hundred is the one he cherishes the most. "It's not always that I score hundreds so the single that I took to reach my century is the one I would pick as my favourite shot."
He further stated that they are not taking anything for granted and will think about the outright victory only after taking first innings lead. "To win the match, you need to take the first innings lead. Our focus to pile up as massive total as we can and then bowl Services out. We're not taking anything for granted and going step-by-step."
The Mumbai captain said that Services are a good team and their bowlers put up a disciplined show. "Services have performed very well to reach the semi-finals. All their three seamers were very disciplined in their endeavor but looked tad jaded at the end of the day two. It is difficult to run in and bowl for two days especially when things are not going your way. Pacers are bound to get bit tired."