Mumbai: Wasim Jaffer struck his 47th first-class century as Mumbai strengthened their grip on the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra, reaching 287 for 6, a lead of 139, at stumps on day two at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
The 34-year-old veteran, who crossed sixteen thousand first-class runs en route to his century, also broke the record of maximum hundreds (32) – previously held by Ajay Sharma – in the prestigious tournament. Jaffer took 264 balls to make 132, including 16 fours and a six. The day also saw Sachin Tendulkar (22) getting run out for the first time in Ranji Trophy.
The Saurashtra seamers bowled a good line in the morning, beating both Jaffer and Kaustubh Pawar (21) on numerous occasions without much luck. Jaffer survived a close caught behind shout when a Jaydev Unadkat delivery nipped back after pitching, making a sound as it passed the bat but no deviation on its way to Sagar Jogiyani behind the wickets.
Pawar too survived a few close shouts but mainly dealt in boundaries - a leg glance and cover drive off Unadkat, while blazing cut shots off Saurya Sanandiya. Jaffer opened his boundary account of the day when he sent Sanandiya through mid-off.
He did not show any mercy on left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as he smacked him for three back-to-back boundaries. He lofted him over mid-on for his first four, following it with a deft touch passed short third man and then putting another one over midwicket.
Meanwhile, Pawar, in an attempt to clip Siddharth Trivedi through midwicket, gave a return catch to the bowler. Jaffer got to his half-century when he launched Jadeja over the long-on fence for six. Mumbai reached lunch at 88 for 1, with Jaffer batting on 54 and Tare on 2.
Saurashtra struck immediately after lunch when Sanandiya had Aditya Tare (3) caught in the slips by Aarpit Vasavada. There was big roar across the stadium when Tendulkar made his way into the middle. But Sanandiya and Unadkat kept up the pressure, not giving the veteran batsman any freebies and beating him outside his offstump. He got off the mark on the 15th delivery, clipping Sanandiya to the leg side for a single.
And then came a flurry of boundaries – a straight drive on the up and classy flick through midwicket off Unadkat and a paddle sweep off Jadeja. Jaffer moved into the nineties with another hat-trick of fours – a cover drive off Jadeja, a cut past backward point and a clip through the vacant midwicket off Trivedi.
But when it looked like the duo would take Mumbai to tea, there was a mix-up between them which cost Tendulkar his wicket. He dabbed Jadeja to the off side for a quick single, but Kamlesh Makwana, fielding at point, was quick to react, throwing the ball back to the wicketkeeper, who shattered the stumps in no time.
Jaffer completed his century with a glorious cover drive off Jadeja. He might have been run out when Abhishek Nayar (26) pushed him for a quick single through mid-on where Sheldon Jackson sent a throw which would have hit the stumps directly had wicketkeeper Jogiyani not done it himself with his gloves. Nayar then deposited Jadeja over the long-on fence for a huge six as Mumbai went into tea with 181 for 3.
The home team lost a few quick wickets after the break. Nayar, after hitting a couple of boundaries, was holed out to Unadkat at midwicket. Jaffer, when he was looking good for a big knock, was undone by dubious umpiring. Jadeja sent one with a flat trajectory, which held its line and would have missed the leg stump easily, but umpire K Hariharan raised his finger without any hesitation.
Ajit Agarkar (2) too was a little unlucky as he was adjudged lbw when the ball again might have missed the leg stump. Hiken Shah (41) and Dhawal Kulkarni (18) were still at the wicket, sharing 50-run stand for the seventh wicket when the stumps were drawn on day two.