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Sachin stands tall among ruins

Chennai: Sachin Tendulkarís resolute batting helped Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai reach 272 for nine against Rest of India on the opening day of the Irani Trophy match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Thursday. Sachin scored a resilient 94 while Wasim Jaffer (43) and Sairaj Bahutule (58) added valuable runs as Mumbai recovered from a disastrous start.

Zaheer Khan was the wrecker-in-chief for Rest with figures of five for 74, while Anil Kumble chipped in with two for 46.

At close, Robin Morris (9) and Avishkar Salvi (0) were at the crease. Sachin was a cut above the rest. Though rival captain Sourav Ganguly tried everything at hand, it was of no avail as star batsman showed tremendous concentration in his first match for Mumbai since the Ranji Trophy final in 2001.

Sachin added 149 runs for the sixth wicket with Bahutule in 56.1 overs in 230 minutes. He eventually fell to Zaheer, caught behind by Dravid as he slashed at a rising delivery outside the off stump.

The maestro was particularly severe on the spinners, Harbhajan Singh suffering the most. Aware of the late-order batting limitations in the Mumbai line-up, Sachin went after the Rest bowling as he tried to make the most of his stay at the crease.

Earlier, asked to bat first, Mumbai openers Vinayak Mane and Wasim Jaffer got off to a good start, but Zaheer wrecked the Mumbai innings with his dramatic second spell, when he bagged three wickets in five overs for 12 runs. It changed the course of the match. From 91 for two, Mumbai slid to 98 for five.

Mane (26), during his brief stay, was solid in handling both Zaheer and Balaji, as he picked two boundaries off each. Sourav then turned to Sanjay Bangar and brought on himself at the other end. This paid dividends as Mane tried to cut Bangar and was caught by kumble.

Nishit Shetty started shakily and survived a leg before appeal to Bangar. He had a reprieve when Sourav floored a return catch in the 18th over. He did not last long and was caught at covers by Sehwag for five off Zaheer.

Sachin then led the recovery with Jaffer but their stand was broken when the opener was bowled by Balaji.

Vinod Kambliís hopes of reviving his international career were dashed when he fell leg before to Zaheer. Ajit Agarkar then snicked Zaheer to Parthiv Patel to be out for a duck.

Rahul Dravid substituted for Parthiv Patel, who was off the field for 3.5 overs due to dehydration.

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