Date-stamped : 02 Oct97 - 06:12
Day 1 report - The Hindu
Paranjpe hits century
By Vijay Lokapally
The contest did not develop intensity at any stage as Mumbai
crawled to a score of 237 for five on the opening day of the
Irani Cup at the ***hede Stadium here on Wednesday.
Left-handed Jatin Paranjpe compiled a chancy century while Wasim
Jaffer missed what would have been a solid one against a strong
Rest of India attack. A very poor crowd witnessed some drab
cricket and it was a pity that the first day of the domestic
season had little to offer by way of entertainment.
The pre-match fears regarding the pitch proved exaggerated even
though Anil Kumble and his men would have reason to be unhappy
with the end result. There was help for the bowlers but then the
ball spun slowly and there were innumerable occasions when the
batsmen were left clueless.
There were a couple of bouncers from Kumble as the ball rose
viciously and one even from Venkatapathy Raju. So, there was
evidence of bad behaviour of the pitch but then the bowlers
drifted in their length and failed to capitalise on the early
breakthrough that Dodda Ganesh gave.
Mumbai chose to bat but the decision was not made good use of by
Amit Pagnis, who slashed and edged for Gagan Khoda to smartly
take the catch at second slip. It was a needless show of
aggression by the young Pagnis so early in his innings since the
ball as such may not have deserved a wicket.
It was now left to Paranjpe and Jaffer to gradually build the
Mumbai challenge even as the bowlers tried to exploit the
assistance from the pitch. In the process, the spinners tried
too hard even though they commanded respect in the first
Jaffer, being marked as a batsman for the future, and Paranjpe,
trying to make a mark, added 155 runs for the second wicket to
frustrate the bowlers, particularly Kumble, who was twice
smashed for sixes. Paranjpe hit him on both the occasions and
the most striking feature of the day was this tussle between the
left- hander and Kumble.
Jaffer looked impressive in his neat innings lasting 223 minutes
and 152 balls with nine fours. He likes to bat straight and he
showed a good tendency to wait for the bad ball. Having batted
solidly into the afternoon session, he fell to a superb catch at
midwicket by Khoda when he pulled Kumble. The Karnataka leg-
spinner had to wait until the 12th over for his first wicket.
Paranjpe was willing to go ahead with his strokes but then he
came close to being out twice off Raju. First, the bowler failed
to hold on to a return overhead catch and then Pankaj Dharmani
flung himself in front of the batsman to grab the chance but
could not convince umpire K. Murali.
Later in the day, Murali was confronted with an unusual appeal.
Paranjpe, on 81, patted the ball back and Kumble appealed for
``hitting the ball twice''. Murali raised his finger but sanity
returned when Kumble recalled the batsman who had reached the
Paranjpe duly completed his century with a six off Raju in an
innings which reflected his ability to place the ball well and
also belt them, as indicated by the seven fours and five sixes
that adorned his 243-ball performance. His innings ended to an
uppish cover drive which was gleefully accepted by Kumble.
Mumbai lost two more wickets quickly when skipper Manjrekar and
Sulakshan Kulkarni fell to successive balls by Raju. Having
batted 101 balls and hit one fours, Manjrekar drove the bowler
into the hands of Kumble at midoff and off the next ball,
Kulkarni watched it helplessly trickle on to the stumps after he
had played. The three-wicket success was the saving grace for
Rest of India which could look forward to some satisfaction from
the day's play on a pitch its spinners ought to have exploited
Day 2 Report
Muzumdar, Bahutule toy with Rest of India spinners
By Vijay Lokapally
MUMBAI, Oct. 2.
Mumbai continued to multiply Rest of India's miseries on a
listless day of cricket at the ***hede Stadium here on
Thursday. At the conclusion of the second day of the Irani Cup
match, Rest of India was faced with a daunting task, a
self-inflicted worry than any great show by the opponent.
For the second day running, the established spinners in the Rest
of India squad proved unequal to the task of tackling the
challenge from the Mumbai batsmen. Even the lower half took
liberties with bowlers like Anil Kumble and Venkatapathy Raju as
the home team reached an impressive first innings total of 473
after resuming the day at 237 for five.
It is clear that the captains failed to read the pitch well.
Both had expressed apprehensions regarding the quality of the
playing surface and both had gone to the extent of suggesting
that it was made to suit the bowlers. True, but Rest of India
did not have the men to exploit the pitch which did offer bounce
and slow turn for the bowlers to thrive upon.
Once again, the deteriorating standard of spin bowling in the
country was brought into focus, what with young batsmen like
Amol Muzumdar (97) and Sairaj Bahutule (71) mocking at the stuff
produced by the experienced Kumble and Raju and Aashish Kapoor.
The trio was quite erratic and inconsistent and failed to
impress even though eight wickets came the spinners' way.
The Rest of India bowling was incredibly below par even though
skipper Kumble finished with four wickets and the others with
two each. The inability to make a dent in the lower half did not
really show the senior spinners of Indian cricket in good light.
The 130-run stand for the seventh wicket between Muzumdar and
Bahutule effectively put Mumbai in a strong position after the
team lost Ajit Agarkar to a vicious ball early in the day. The
loss, however, was not felt because Agarkar had struggled to
come to terms with the bowling during his 18-ball stay this
Mumbai recovered through Muzumdar and Bahutule and it was nice
to see them stroke the ball to remove the pressure. Muzumdar, a
correct batsman with a technically sound approach, was
confidence personified even though he was baffled at times by
the unpredictable bounce. Bahutule was not averse to whip the
loose ball and it was the right thing to do on a pitch which did
not allow the batsmen much scope for strokemaking. You had to
wait for a ball to hit and the Rest of India bowlers proved to
be very generous on this account.
The manner in which Muzumdar batted showed the excellent
temperament this lad possesses. Unfortunately, he has to bat at
number five and often does not get much chance to play his
natural game of grafting for runs. Not that he lacks strokes but
he believes in playing the ball on merit and building the
innings. He was distinctly unlucky to get a ball which kicked
and flew to slip leaving him three runs short of a century. His
336- minute and 222-ball knock contained ten fours.
Bahutule played some rousing drives and cuts in his entertaining
innings of 71 off 163 balls with eight fours. He was the seventh
batsman out to be followed by Rashing change
Once again, the crowd response at the ***hede Stadium continued
to be poor but among the few who turned up, it must have been a
gladdening sight to watch the left-arm spin skills of Pawar.
After some disappointing show by the Test trio for the Rest of
India team, the performance of Pawar and Bahutule came as a
His ability to flight the ball and not change his strategy even
when clouted a few times was the most exemplary feature of
Pawar's bowling. For someone his age, it was pleasing to watch a
bowler who believed in attacking than being happy by adopting a
restrictive line. No wonder, Sachin Tendulkar rates him high and
no doubt here is a bowler who needs to be watched and groomed
for higher grade of cricket.
Rest of India found itself embarrassed by the youngster who
foxed a well-set Gagan Khoda by flight as the batsman played
over to be bowled. Then the young spinner lured a well-set
Sharath into playing an on- drive which ended at mid-off. These
two wickets showed the incisive skills of Pawar who kept the
batsmen guessing with his accuracy and the appreciable turn that
On the other hand, Bahutule, never mind the fact that he has a
predictable googly, gained from his sustained attack on the
stumps. He was able to beat the batsmen frequently and did not
hesitate to flight to be duly rewarded for his quality bowling.
The three wickets that Bahutule reaped put the shackles on Rest
of India which stood in danger of being asked to follow on, what
with the cream of the batting line up being polished off by the
spinners. The overnight batsmen, Khoda and Venkatapathy Raju did
well to thwart the bowlers for a good 90 minutes before Mumbai
made the first dent through Bahutule.
Raju, who loves every opportunity to bat long, lasted 99 minutes
and 77 balls before edging to silly point on forward defence. It
was an effort which enabled Rest of India raise hopes of a sound
batting show but things went haywire in the next eight overs.
V. V. S. Laxman played against the turn and paid the penalty at
the hands of short leg. It was a crucial blow since Laxman was
the batsman most capable of playing a long innings on this kind
of pitch. Next to go was Khoda, who had delighted the spectators
with his positive approach.
Khoda's was a neat and impressive innings which produced some
quality strokes in front of the wicket. He is a batsman who
drives compulsorily and anything flighted was struck with flair
by this Rajasthani opener. For variety, he cut and pulled too
but it was the drive which happened to be his most productive
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