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Rest make it 8 in a row

- Jaffer scores a century on final day as tie ends in a draw

Mumbai: Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer notched up his 48th first-class century but Rest of India retained the Irani Cup by virtue of their first innings lead after the game ended in a tame draw here on Sunday.

Rest, thus, clinched the title for the 26th time and eighth time in a row. The side had been virtually assured of supremacy on Saturday itself after ending the day on 296 for 4 in their second innings for an overall lead of 413 runs.

On Sunday, the Harbhajan Singh-led Rest increased the lead to a mammoth 506 before declaring their second innings at 389 for 5, with Ambati Rayudu remaining unbeaten on 156. He batted for over six hours and hit 12 fours and four sixes.

The hosts cruised along to 160 for 4, with Jaffer hitting an unbeaten 101, before the game was called off by mutual consent after the third mandatory over in the last hour of play.

Jaffer batted for 200 minutes and struck ten fours in his 141-ball knock and also crossed the 1,000-run mark to become the highest scorer in the tournament’s history to remain unbeaten along with Ankit Chavan (12) when stumps were drawn.

Rest, thus, retained the crown they lifted by outclassing Rajasthan by an innings and 79 runs in September last year at Bangalore.

Rayudu was on 118 and Suresh Raina on 40 when game commenced on Sunday and the latter got out after scoring 71. He hit five fours and three sixes to follow up his first innings score of 134. Raina reached his half-century off 94 balls. He got out to a leading edge to be caught at short third man off young left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar.

Raina was out in the 12th over to end the 145-run partnership with Rayudu. Harbhajan then declared with Rayudu, who faced 289 balls, and Wridhiman Saha (20) at the crease, 52 minutes before lunch.

Chasing the improbable target, Mumbai lost the wickets of opener Aditya Tare (11), Ajinkya Rahane (25), Rohit Sharma — he flopped for the second time in the match by scoring one after his duck in the first innings — and captain Abhishek Nayar (2) cheaply.

Jaffer and Rahane, who made 80 and 83 respectively in the first innings, put on 53 runs in 85 balls for the second wicket before the latter was sent back by Harbhajan.

Tare, dropped by Rayudu at long on off Harbajan, fell two runs later. The off-spinner then sent back Rahane.

(PTI)