Jaffer rescues Mumbai after Shukla's early burst

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Wasim Jaffer (80) and Abhishek Nayar (62) took Mumbai out of doldrums with a century stand against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy Group A match at Brabourne stadium here on Saturday. The hosts made a decent recovery, finishing the day at 262/7 after being reduced to 46/3 inside 20 overs on a lively wicket.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla (4/35) exploited the initial dampness in the wicket by removing Hiken Shah and skipper Rohit Sharma in quick succession to justify Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary's call to field first after winning the toss. He went on to dismiss Jaffer and Ankeet Chavan (35) to cap a wonderful day.

With the spotlight on skippers Sharma and Tiwary-both strong contenders for the middleorder spot in the Indian Test team, Sharma failed to make it count while Tiwary was marshaling his troops smartly the whole day.

Sharma (1, 7b) poked forward to a Shukla good length ball that swung away and took thick edge with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha diving full length to complete the catch.

Shukla had earlier removed in-form Shah for a duck after left arm slow bowler Iresh Saxena broke the opening stand of 39 runs between Jaffer and Kaustubh Pawar. Saxena brought first breakthrough for the visiting side after enticing Pawar to come forward and Saha whipped of the bails in a flash.

Jaffer playing his first match of the season after performing Hajj pilgrimage looked at home despite lack of match practice and drew Mumbai out of trouble with a 104-run stand for the fourth wicket with Nayar.

Jaffer who was dropped on 16 by Arindam Das at second slip off Shukla went on to score his 76th first-class fifty, smashing 14 boundaries in his 151-ball knock.

He had replaced middleorder batsman Surya Kumar Yadav in the squad.

Shukla broke the stand in the first over of his second spell after dismissing Jaffer who tried to flick the ball but got a leading edge that ballooned in the air straight to Abhishek Jhunjhunwala at extra cover. Nayar got an inside edge to stumps on Veer Pratap Singh's short delivery.

Wicketkeeper batsman Aditya Tare (38) who opened successfully in the first three matches came in at number six. He added further 56 runs for the sixth wicket with Chavan, before Saxena removed Tare. At stumps, Dhawal Kulkarni was unbeaten on 24 while Ramesh Powar was keeping him company on 1.

BRIEF SCORES GROUP A At Valsad: Gujarat 254/2 in 90 overs (Smit Patel 114, S. Gohel 85, B. Merai 45 not out) vs Hyderabad.
At Mumbai: Mumbai 262/7 in 90 overs (W. Jaffer 80, A. Nayar 62, L. Shukla 4/35) vs Bengal.
At Mohali: Rajasthan 222 in 70.3 overs (Puneet Yadav 57, Sandeep Sharma 3/72, S. Kaul 4/63) vs Punjab 20/1 in 17 overs.
At Rajkot: Saurashtra 227/4 in 90 overs (R. Jadeja 111 not out, S. Kotak 53*) vs Railways.
GROUP B At Rohtak: Haryana 219/6 in 90 overs (R. Dewan 71, N. Saini 45, P. Awana 3/39) vs Delhi.
At Sambalpur: Maharashtra 264/7 in 90 overs (H. Khadiwale 43, A. Bawne 51, C. Khurana 48) vs Odisha.
At Kanpur: Baroda 254 in 83.3 overs (A. Rayudu 85, K. Devdhar 65, A. Rajpoot 4/62, P. Chawla 3/78) vs U.P. 18 for no loss in six overs.
At Nagpur: Tamil Nadu 235/3 in 90 overs (S. Badrinath 101 not out, D. Karthik 49) vs Vidarbha.
GROUP C At Visakhapatnam: Andhra 240/5 in 87 overs (K.Sahabuddin 49, A. Muzumdar 56*, S. Bandekar 3/62) vs Goa.
At Guwahati: J&K 240/7 in 90 overs (Parvez Rassol 67, A. Das 4/58) vs Assam.
At Nadaun: Tripura 325/4 in 88 overs (Subhrajit Roy 111, S.Abbas Ali 83, A. Ratra 55 not out) vs H.P.
At Delhi: Kerala 192/5 in 85 overs (V. Jagadeesh 126 not out) vs Services.

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