Huge run tally gives Mumbai the edge, hope

So often have they returned home empty-handed and dispirited from Rajkot that the Mumbai players no longer take anything for granted here. The visitors may have dominated proceedings on the opening day, but the pessimism on their faces was hard to ignore on Saturday evening. It was more a case of historical baggage than anything else.

By Sunday evening though, a sudden calm had taken over the Mumbai dressing-room. The anxiety had finally been wiped off and the smiles were back. Thanks to Aditya Tare and Rohit Sharma, they had drilled home the advantage significantly. After declaring their first innings on 606/5, Mumbai had also taken two crucial Saurashtra wickets. And with two days to go, they finally looked to have exorcised their Rajkot demons.

There were also a number of individual performances to cheer about with Tare reaching his maiden double-ton, Rohit notching up another eye-catching century and Abhishek Nayar continuing his amazing run with the bat.

It was a day of complete domination for Mumbai. There had been immense pressure on them going into the contest, and they had stood up to the test. Nothing was more symbolic of their dominance than the 278-run stand between Rohit and Tare. The pitch at the SCAS as always was a nightmare for the bowlers, and the Mumbai batsmen, led by the two centurions, only added to their horror.

Rohit started off where he had left off on Day One with blazing cover-drive for four. He did survive a close encounter when wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani spilled his second major catch of the innings. Rohit was only on 87 then. And soon he curled his wrists in his customary elegant style and flicked a Jaidev Unadkat delivery from wide outside off stump to the mid-wicket fence to bring up his third century of the season — his 15th overall in first class cricket. Another significant knock, another reminder to the national selectors.

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