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|Mazumdar's century tightens Mumbai's grip|
Sunday, March 28 2004 19:24 Hrs (IST)
At stumps, skipper Sairaj Bahutule was unbeaten on 64 with Mazumdar as the visitors ended the day at 513 for five, giving no respite to the Tamil Nadu bowling which tasted limited success in the first two sessions on the flat track.
Mazumdar, who scored his 13th Ranji century, was involved in two big partnerships, adding 131 runs with Bahutule for the unbroken sixth wicket and 113 runs with Vinod Kambli (55) for the fourth wicket.
The hosts, who allowed Mumbai to pile up 236 for no loss on Saturday, seemed to have got back themselves into the match taking three quick wickets of openers Wasim Jaffer (133-272b, 21x4) and Vinayak Mane (106-243b, 14x4) and Bhavin Thakkar (9) in the first hour of the day and later removing Kambli and Manoj Joglekar (0) in the post-lunch session.
But, Mazumdar, who reached his second hundred of the season facing 196 balls in 314 minutes, and Bahutule showed great determination and went after the bowlers, particularly in the last session, scoring 126 runs off just 31 overs, to keep their team on course for its 36th Ranji title.
While hosts skipper S Suresh (2/67) provided the first breakthrough removing Jaffer and Mane, exploiting the morning conditions with his medium pace, part-time spinner S Badrinath (2/51) took the wickets of Kambli and Joglekar. But frontline bowlers failed to take wickets with the exception of newball bowler C Ganapathy who took one for 111.
Mumbai surpassed the hosts total in the 17th over of the day with Kambli and Mazumdar batting. Kambli, who survived a confident appeal for a catch by a diving V Sivaramakrishnan at second slip off Ganapathy when on two, scored his 50 off 91 balls with seven hits to the fence.
Soon, Mazumdar too crossed his half-century as the pair hoisted the 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket in 134 minutes off 191 balls before Kambli was caught, trying to cut Ganapathy.
Joglekar then made his exit scoring a duck after facing 10 balls giving the tormented Tamil Nadu bowling attack some hopes of restricting the defending champions to a reasonable score. But, Mazumdar and Bahutule (126b, 150m, 7x4, 1x6) played positively, hitting some breathtaking shots as Mumbai crossed the 400-run mark in the 143rd over.
Mazumdar, who was in the 80s, was severe on the bowlers as he raced to his 100 with a cracking cover drive and an on drive off Ganapathy. Earlier in the same over, Tamil Nadu appealed strongly for a caught behind when Mazumdar flashed his bat outside the off stump. This led to some heatedexchanges between the rival players, forcing the umpires to intervene.
With the batsmen on the offensive, Suresh made a flurry of bowling changes, but the two proved unstoppable. Mazumdar unleashed a stinging attack on Badrinath, dispatching him to the mid-off fence and for a six on the onside in successive balls as the pair put on the 100 partnership.
Soon, Bahutule, who hoisted spinner R Ramkumar for a low six over midwicket, reached his 50 with a cover drive off Sriram in the 164th over.
Jaffer, Mane put Mumbai in drivers seat