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Rest succumb to Powar prowess
Virendra Sehwag is bowled by Avishkar Salvi in Chennai on Friday. (AFP)
Powar took four for 61

Chennai: Rest of India paid the penalty for lack of application as they conceded a 95-run first innings lead to Mumbai in the Irani Trophy match on Thursday.

After wrapping up Mumbai’s last wicket and restricting the Ranji Trophy champions to a modest 297, Rest saw their top-order batsmen commit harakiri as they were bowled out for 202 in the first innings.

At stumps on the second day, Mumbai were 11 for no loss — a lead of 106 runs — with Vinayak Mane (6) and Wasim Jaffer (1) at the crease.

The Mumbai bowlers were up to their task from the outset. Off spinner Ramesh Powar (four for 61) looked more impressive than the duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.

The blame for Rest’s debacle lay on their batsmen. Skipper Sourav Ganguly proved that he is still susceptible outside the off stump as he played Powar away from his body, giving a simple catch to Nishit Shetty at second slip.

Unlike Sachin, who played a sheet anchor role when Mumbai were in the dumps Wednesday, Sourav did not display the same leadership qualities after he came in, when his team were at a precarious three for 89.

The only good patch of the Rest of India innings was a superb effort by Rahul Dravid and opener Sanjay Bangar after Virender Sehwag departed for 16, playing onto a delivery from Avishkar Salvi. Sehwag’s knock contained three fours and came off 14 balls in 23 minutes.

The last wicket pair of Zaheer Khan (34-3x4, 2x6) and L. Balaji (12 not out) showed fighting qualities, adding 43 valuable runs, saving their side from much deeper trouble.

Dravid and Bangar looked well set, the former stroking freely and Bangar happy to play the second fiddle.

Dravid departed after he was brilliantly caught by Sachin off Powar. Dravid, who came out of the crease, picked up the ball on the rise, but pulled straight to Sachin at short mid-wicket. The Master Blaster dived to his right and held onto the ball.

Once Bangar left, guiding Robin Morris to Vinayak Mane at first slip, the remaining batsmen were casual in their approach. Bangar played a stellar role in the 71-run stand in 26.3 overs with Rahul Dravid. His knock of 29 came in 144 minutes with two fours and a six.

Sourav departed for no score, caught by Nishit Shetty off Powar. Laxman who made five runs in his 85-minute stay at the crease, played away from his body and was brilliantly caught at gully by Powar. He added 33 runs for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj was next to go, caught by Wasim Jaffer at second slip for 27 (4x4).

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