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Friday, Oct 24th

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Mumbai 'A' frustrate England, dominate with both bat and ball

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Mumbai second string side made a strong statement today as they forced the English side to declare after adding only 7 runs this morning and then displayed good patience and organised batting skills to end the day at 232/4. The net takeaway from the day was the fact that the English bowlers are yet to find their rhythm in subcontinent conditions. Their key bowlers could not pick up early wickets and put pressure on the opposition, resulting in Mumbai 'A' ending the day on a high.

Mumbai 'A' got the perfect start they would've hoped for. They conceded only 7 runs in the 7 overs they bowled this morning, picking up 3 wickets and forcing England to declare their innings closed at 345/9 from their overnight 338/6. Shardul Thakur was particularly impressive this morning, dismissing Stuart Broad without letting him add a single run this morning and Graham Onions for a duck. Kshemal Waingankar picked up the all important wicket of Samit Patel (60 from 80), forcing England to declare at 345/9. It was the perfect opportunity for the English bowlers to put in a strong showing considering that it was still pretty early in the morning and there was still some moisture in the pitch.

James Anderson got some swing but could not pick up a wicket in the first session. Bhavin Thakkar and Shikhar Dhawan played cautiously in the beginning, Thakkar took 33 balls before scoring his first run. Dhawan, at the other end, hit a couple of boundaries. Thakkar finally clipped one on the leg side and took a single and hit a boundary the next ball he faced but was dismissed one ball later, caught behind off Onions' bowling. Indian test hopeful Cheteshwar Pujara walked out at no.3. Dhawan and Pujara played out the remainder of the first session to head in for lunch at 43/1.

Dhawan was dismissed right after lunch (27 from 59) as he edged a turning delivery from Joe Root to first slip. Following this dismissal, Hiken Shah and Pujara had a solid partnership worth fifty runs before tea. Both batsmen played patiently. England did not have much say in the second session except for Dhawan's wicket and Pujara's missed chance to first slip off Monty Panesar's bowling. The majority of England's bowling in the second session was done by the spinners. With the score 110/2 at tea, the Mumbai middle order had done enough to ensure that a result from this game was incredibly unlikely.

The final session too belonged to Mumbai. Pujara and Shah continued to put runs on the board pretty much in a controlled and cautious manner. They had a 163 run stand before Pujara was dismissed towards the end of the day for an excellent 87 from 184 balls (11 fours). Suryakumar Yadav walked in and hit a couple of boundaries but was dismissed as he nicked one from James Anderson to be caught behind for 17. With his wicket, stumps were called. Shah remained unbeaten on 84, hitting nine fours and a six.

Mumbai 'A' clearly dominated the entire day, though a few spells belonged to England. On the whole, the English bowlers, particularly the seamers, will not be happy with their performance today. Despite getting some amount of swing, the three seamers could manage only two wickets in nearly 36 overs between themselves. It will be interesting to see how Shah bats tomorrow morning and if the seamers are able to exploit the early conditions.

Mini Scorecard

England A 1st Innings 345/9 declared (93 Overs, 3.70rpo)
J Bairstow 118 (177) S Thakur 2/53
E Morgan 76 (128) K Waingankar 3/72

Mumbai A 1st Innings 232/4 (80.4 Overs, 2.87 rpo)
C Pujara 87 (184) G Onions 1/34
H Shah 84 (190) J Anderson 1/36

Mumbai A trail by 113 runs with 6 wickets in hand