Gujarat stay in front

You don't expect to receive too many chances from a team like Mumbai in a game as important as the Ranji Trophy final. But if opportunities do come your way, making them count could have an immense impact on the eventual outcome of the match. Gujarat's Parthiv Patel and Manprit Juneja weren't the ones to squander such chances.

Skipper Parthiv, who was caught behind off a no-ball from Shardul Thakur when on 20, slammed a stroke-filled 90 while Juneja, dropped on 15 by Shreyas Iyer, made 77. Helped by the duo's 120-run fourth-wicket stand, Gujarat, resuming from 2/0, ended the second day here at the Holkar Stadium at 291/6 to gain the day's honours by a slight margin.

Following a below-par show with the bat, Mumbai were let down by their poor fielding and allowed their opponents to take a 63-run lead. Mumbai put down two regulation catches and gave runs on misfields on quite a few occasions, helping Gujarat resurrect their innings after the fall of every wicket. Mumbai's best effort came in the final session when they managed to remove both Parthiv and Juneja.

Going into the third day, both the sides still have a lot to do if they are to take a big step towards the title. Gujarat's lower-order will look to see-off the crucial first hour against the new ball and their first target will be to take the lead to 100-run mark.

While Mumbai did manage to get the breakthroughs, their inability to capitalise on it and apply pressure denied them the advantage. For instance, Tare, who created a record for the most number of dismissals in a season with 50, ironically put down a simple catch off Chirag Gandhi in the final session with the score at 267 for six. Gandhi and Rush Kalaria then added 24 runs and remained unbeaten to frustrate Mumbai.

It was a similar story in the second session, when at 106 for three, Iyer dropped a sitter at short mid-wicket off Juneja. Despite luck favouring his team, nothing can be taken away from Parthiv's knock. While he drove beautifully on both sides of the wicket to the pacers, the southpaw was at ease against the spinners. Parthiv's classy knock, which was marked by excellent timing, included 12 fours.

The skipper forged two valuable partnerships that came in quick time - first a 69-run stand with Bharghav Merai (45) and then a 120-run alliance with Juneja.

Mumbai's minor comeback post tea owed to the batsmen's poor shot selection rather than the bowlers' brilliance. Juneja played a nothing shot and gave bowler Shardul Thakur a simple catch. Luck favoured Mumbai this time. Though it appeared that Thakur had overstepped by an extremely thin margin, the third upmire, after taking a long time to decide, gave the benefit of the doubt to the bowler. Parthiv attempted a drive away from the body and fell 10 short of a century.

score board

MUMBAI (I Innings): 228 all out
GUJARAT (I Innings; 2/0): Samit Gohel c Suryakumar b Thakur 4 (46m, 34b), Priyank Panchal c Tare b Nayar 6 (92m, 51b), Barghav Merai c Tare b Nayar 45 (148m, 100b, 7x4), Parthiv Patel c Tare b Nayar 90 (212m, 146b, 12x4), Manprit Juneja c&b Thakur 77 (124m, 95b, 11x4), Ruju Bhatt c Prithvi b Sandhu 25 (58m, 38b, 4x4), Chirag Gandhi (batting) 17 (76m, 54b, 1x4), Rush Kalaria (batting) 16 (44m, 39b, 2x4). Extras (LB-6, NB-5) 11. Total (for 6 wkts, 92 overs) 291.

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Gohel), 2-37 (Panchal), 3-106 (Merai), 4-226 (Parthiv), 5-254 (Juneja), 6-264 (Bhatt).

Bowling: Shardul Thakur 23-4-67-2 (nb-2), Balwinder Singh Sandhu 21-2-54-1 (nb-3), Abhishek Nayar 27-6-91-3, Vijay Gohil 8-0-34-0, Vikas Dabholkar 9-3-21-0, Siddesh Lad 4-0-18-0.