Kulkarni, Deshpande dent UP after Tamore, Mulani stand takes Mumbai to 393 in first innings

A typically gritty performance from a team used to winning clutch matches ensured that Mumbai went from a relatively tricky position at the end of the first day to one of strength by the time a truncated second day ended.

Heavy overnight showers meant that play could only begin at 12.30pm. Once it did, the going was slow, initially, for the pitch had been under covers and sweated.

In this context, the 113-run sixth-wicket partnership between Hardik Tamore (115) and Shams Mulani (50) proved invaluable. Both batters were solid, and after one ball beat the outside edge of Mulani early on, there were few scares.

Uttar Pradesh’s bowlers were disciplined, the medium pacers maintaining a fifth stump line for the best part, hoping the batters would make a mistake.

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Mulani  was dismissed against the run of play when Karan Sharma brought himself into the attack, perhaps a touch later than expected, given his twin successes on the first day, drawing the bat-pad catch to forward short-leg.

But the day belonged to Tamore. In the knowledge that there were enough hands in the lower order to keep him company, he batted with application and common sense, playing some crisp drives when the
bowlers erred in length and were too full.

Tamore, playing only his fifth Ranji Trophy match, and first as wicketkeeper after Aditya Tare fractured the middle finger of his right hand in the quarterfinal, showed the depth in Mumbai cricket.

Batting on 98 at Tea, Uttar Pradesh attempted to delay Tamore’s century by choking the runs, hoping to force an error and playing on the anxiety of the batter. But he unfurled a reverse sweep off Karan, getting to his second First Class century, off 172 balls.

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Tanush Kotian chipped in with 22 and when Tamore was dismissed as the last man, caught behind off Saurabh Kumar, the left-arm spinner, Mumbai had got to 393.

Uttar Pradesh’s inexperienced batting line-up was put under pressure immediately. The experienced Dhawal Kulkarni took the ball away from the right-handed batters and Tushar Deshpande shaped it back in.

Both were rewarded. Samarth Singh went for a duck, nicking off to the wicketkeeper in the first over. Soon after, UP was four for two when Priyam Garg played away from his body, driving on the up to a ball from
Deshpande that seamed in and pegged back the middle stump.

UP managed to avoid further damage, going to stumps on 25 for two, but it still trails by 368 runs.

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