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Agarkar, Tare hit centuries

New Delhi: Services’ hopes of pinning down Mumbai went astray on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final as the visitors hit back at the Palam ground here on Thursday.

Based on their successful bowling on the opening day, Services had reduced Mumbai to 199 for six.

At stumps on Thursday, Services bowlers, however, failed to trouble the Mumbai batsmen, as the visitors did not lose any wicket en route to reaching 380 for six. Ajit Agarkar (113 batting) and wicket-keeper Aditya Tare (108 batting) batted resolutely to add 211 runs for the unbroken seventh-wicket stand.

Only 65 overs — only 9.5 overs could be bowled in the morning session because of poor light and steady drizzle and play had to be called off at 4.10pm because of bad light — could be bowled.

The cricket was hardly entertaining from the spectators’ point of view. Such was the lack of interest that most in the crowd were more keen to have a glimpse of Sachin Tendulkar in the dressing room. So much was the pressure of autograph seekers that the iconic batsman hardly came out.

In the morning, when umpires delayed play because of poor light, Sachin joined teammates for the physical training session. Later, he was seen eagerly supervising the Mumbai medium-pacers at the nets. In the afternoon, former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja came down to Palam ground to meet Sachin.

Talking about the match, both Agarkar and Tare batted exceedingly well to help Mumbai’s cause. The duo showed great courage and determination in making sure that their side does not get bundled out for a paltry total.

The home team bowlers could hardly make an impact despite bowling under favourable conditions. To add to their woes, medium-pacer Suraj Yadav, who did a good job on the first day, limped out of the ground only after seven overs in the morning. He suffered a hamstring injury and did not return to resume duty.

With the Services bowlers dishing out a mediocre display, neither Agarkar nor Tare was in hurry. They batted cautiously, slowly taking the fight out of the opposition.