The batsmen continued their domination on day two of the three-day practice match at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. Resuming on 29 for 1, Mumbai ended the day on a brilliant 431 for 5. They were responding to New Zealand’s 324 for 7 declared, on day one of the match. Kaustubh Pawar and Suryakumar Yadav smashed hundreds for Mumbai while Siddhesh Lad chipped in with a smashing unbeaten 86. The Mumbai batsmen were all over the New Zealand bowlers, especially the spinners, and never allowed them to settle down. By the end of the day, Mumbai had overtaken the Kiwi score with ease.
Mumbai had lost Jay Bista in the first over of their innings on the opening day, but resuming on 29 for 1, they were dominant throughout the day. Pawar and Armaan Jaffer featured in a 107-run partnership for the second wicket. The two eased away right from the start. The stand was finally broken when Jaffer was dismissed by Ish Sodhi, caught behind by Luke Ronchi. He made 69 from 123 balls with nine fours and a six. Pawar however carried on, and completed his hundred. He played a sedate hand, with 100 from 228 balls, before retiring hurt.
Having failed in the series in West Indies, and in the wake of Cheteshwar Pujara’s success, Rohit Sharma would have been under pressure to prove himself. But, he yet again failed to make an impression. Rohit made an unconvincing 18, having spent around 40 minutes at the crease when he was stumped off Sodhi’s bowling. Sodhi was the best of the spinners on the day, and he was actually the only one who troubled the Mumbai batsmen to some extent. On the other hand, Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner were either too short or full.
While Rohit failed to make an impression, the middle and lower order punished the Kiwi bowlers in no uncertain terms. After Pawar’s hundred, Suryakumar also chipped in with one. In fact, he rollicked away to 103 from merely 86 balls, with 9 fours and as many as 8 sixes, at an impressive strike rate of 119.76. He was eventually dismissed, falling to Santner, the spinner’s only wicket on the day. Aditya Tare and Siddhesh Lad also made impressive though contrasting contributions. While Lad blasted 86 from merely 62 balls, at a strike rate of 138.70, Tare was unbeaten on 53 from 76 balls.
Mumbai ended up scoring over 400 runs in a day’s play as Kiwi bowlers were punished with utter disdain. The figures tell a story. Sodhi went for 132 in 20, Santner for 71 in the same number of overs, and Craig for 60 in 18. Among the pacers, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner were economical, both conceding under three runs per over, but disappointingly, they managed only one wicket among themselves. In fact, Wagner as well as Doug Bracewell, the other pacer, both went wicketless. Not a great sign, with Tim Southee ruled out of the tour.
--By A Cricket Analyst