Mumbai, which had gained a hefty first innings lead of 181 were all out for 409 with three balls of the day to go, on Friday.
Sachin Tendulkar, playing first time in last four years as just a player, knocked off his 13th Ranji ton in a jiffy, off 128 but had to share the day's honours with leg spinner Venkatpathy Raju and 42-year-old, battle scarred, off-spinner Kanwaljit Singh. Toiling in the cruel heat, Raju captured five for 123 and Kanwaljit, who had gone wicketless in the first innings, had four for 136.
But for their efforts Mumbai, which had an opening stand of 103, would have reached a target quite beyond the Hyderabadis' wildest dreams. Even otherwise, the visitors will have to bat for their lives and hope that their captain Mohammed Azharuddin, gets fit to bat. He missed the whole day's play on Friday due to a thigh injury.
This was Tendulkar's second consecutive three-figure mark after he had saved Mumbai with a double hundred against Tamil Nadu in the semi-finals here a week ago.
Tendulkar, during his 124 ball-innings, bedecked with 13 boundaries and three sixes, created the air of a father playing with his kid in the backyard on lazy Sunday afternoon. At times after completing a shot, he would not even look at the ball as if cock sure that it will hit the ropes. It is no arrogance but a fact that in domestic cricket he can get out only by an unforced error.
And there is no one like Kapil Dev who tested the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar in the eighties, to test him either.
Tendulkar finally tapped N P Singh for a simple return catch, but not before decimating Fiaz Ahmed and the rest.
Ahmed, in his 12th over, was sort of severely reprimanded for bowling at a great batsman. Tendulkar spanked him for four fours. The next ball, the poor man bowled about six feet over Tendulkar's frame. And was declared a wide.
The former India captain carted Kanwaljit over the straight boundary, lifted Raju over long off and again sent Kanwaljit over mid wicket. He featured in a rapid 109 runs third wicket stand with Vinod Kambli off 18.5 overs before the latter gave a tame catch off Kanwaljit on making 56 ( 56 ball, three sixes, four fours).
Mumbai were given a sound start of 103 by Wasim Jaffer (55) and skipper Samir Dighe (46 off 27.3 overs). Jatin Paranjpe made 42 and Paras Mhambrey again proved to be a better batsman with 31, than a bowler.
Both Raju and Kanwaljit kept giving their sides breakthroughs. The latter also reached a figure of 62 victims this season.
Except a streaky, catchable slip snick by Kambli, no batsman offered any chances. The pitch is still good for runs and the onus now lies with Hyderabad batsmen.