Jaipur:Rajasthan batsmen displayed loads of determination as they took their first innings score to 484 for seven against Mumbai at stumps on third day thereby shutting out any hopes that the defending champions harboured of making an improbable comeback in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal being played at Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
The hosts now enjoy an overall lead of 232 runs and are likely to bat for another hour which will allow former India U-19 captain Ashok Menaria (71 batting, 4x4, 5x6) to get his maiden century in first-class cricket.
This is certainly one of the most memorable matches that the team has played in the last few years with the performance of the senior state team hitting an all-time nadir. During the last season, Rajasthan had the ignominy of finishing last in Plate Group.
The day started with Rajasthan needing 18 runs to surpass Mumbai's first innings score of 252. Skipper Kanitkar who was unbeaten on 96 duly completed his 29th century in first-class cricket. Kanitkar (113, 465 mins, 309 balls, 16x4) and other centurion Vineet Saxena (143, 519 mins, 425 balls, 19x4, 1x6) took the total to 270 when India discard Abhishek Nayar trapped Kanitkar leg before ending the decisive 240-run partnership.
With the lead in pocket, Rajasthan batsmen played even more freely. Robin Bisht (4) and Saxena were out with the score at 316 but Menaria and former Orissa batsman Rashmi Ranjan Parida (53, 9x4) added 78 runs for the fifth wicket to consolidate the position of the hosts.
Menaria was particularly severe on the spinners as he hit Iqbal Abdulla for three sixes and burly offie Ramesh Powar for another couple of huge hits. With Vivek Yadav (38), he added another 83 runs for the sixth wicket to end any chances that the overwhelming favourites had.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 252. Rajasthan 484/7 (V Saxena 143, H Kanitkar 113, A Menaria 71 batting, A Nayar 4/97).