Cheteshwar Pujara endured a horror Saturday after first being dismissed without troubling the scorers and then getting the news of being axed from Indian Test team as defending champions Saurashtra were made to follow-on in a group D Ranji Trophy match by 44-time champions Mumbai.
Having declared their first innings at 544 for 7 riding on Sarfaraz Khan’s 275, Mumbai then dismissed Saurashtra for 220 on the third day with little-known pacer Mohit Avasthi (4/56) and left-arm spinner Shams Mulani (4/55) being wreckers-in-chief.
After being enforced follow-on, Saurashtra gave a better account of themselves in the second innings reaching 105 for no loss at stumps, with openers Snell Patel (64 no) and Harvik Desai (39 batting) at the crease.
However it was Avasthi, who had a day to remember as he bowled one that came in and Pujara was trapped leg before due to lack of footwork. He survived only four balls.
In his brief stay, he looked completely out of sorts and Avasthi, then ran through the middle order picking up wickets of senior players Arpit Vasavada and Prerak Mankad.
Mumbai will be trying for bonus points as Saurashtra still need to score 220 runs to avoid innings defeat.
While the pitch is an easy one to bat and something that defending champions understood in the second innings when Harvik and Snell comfortably played the Mumbai bowlers during the 30 overs in the final session.
Mumbai’s victory will also depend on how fresh Prithvi Shaw’s bowlers are on the final day to pick up 10 Saurashtra wickets.
Mumbai 544/7 decl (Sarfaraz Khan 275, Ajinkya Rahane 129).
Saurashtra 220 (Sheldon Jackson 61, Cheteshwar Pujara 0, Mohit Avasthi 4/56, Sams Mulani 4/55) and 105/0 (f/o) (Snell Patel 64 batting).
Goa 181 and 394/5 decl (Snehal Kauthankar 165, Suyash Prabhudessai 73).
Odisha 189 and (target 387) 22/0.
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