Pawar, Yadav’s tons propel Mumbai to 107-run lead over New Zealand

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) New Zealand bowlers were put to a stern test as Ranji Trophy Champions Mumbai reached 431/5 to gain a comfortable 107-run lead on the second day of the three-day practice game here on Saturday.

Resuming at 29/1, Mumbai rode on brilliant centuries from opener Kaustubh Pawar (100) and Suryakumar Yadav (103) and half centuries from Armaan Jaffer (69), skipper Aditya Tare (53 not out) and Siddhesh Lad (86 not out) to make things difficult for the visitors.

Ahead of the three-match Test series, India’s concern will be the form of Rohit Sharma (18), who once again failed to make the opportunity count at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium track which slowed down a bit making life comfortable for the batsmen.

The highlight of the day was the two century-plus partnerships from the young Mumbai batsmen, with the second wicket stand between Pawar and Jaffer yielding 107 runs while Pawar and Yadav produced another 155 runs for the fourth wicket.

Pawar consumed 228 balls for his century, including 15 fours and a six, while Yadav’s brisk 86-ball knock was laced with nine fours and eight giant sixes.

Meanwhile, the Black Caps’ bowling woes mounted when their seasoned campaigner Tim Southee was ruled out of the Test series this morning with a grade two ligament strain in his left ankle.

Southee is New Zealand’s most experienced Test bowler, having taken 177 wickets in 52 games.

In his absence, Trent Boult led the visitor’s bowling unit without much success as the bowlers could manage only three wickets during the day.

Anticipating slow rank-turners during the Test series, the Kiwis fielded two of their frontline spinners — Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi –, who shared the three wickets to fall on Saturday.

With just a day left for the match to get over, New Zealand will be aiming to brush up their skills and spend some valuable time in the middle before the first Test starts on September 22 at the Green Park stadium.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 324/7 declared vs Mumbai 431/5 (Kaustubh Pawar 100, Suryakumar Yadav 103, Siddhesh Lad 86 (Not out), Ish Sodhi 2-132)

–IANS

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