Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer made a fine half-century to keep multiple-time champions Mumbai in the hunt after the title holders conceded the first innings lead to Gujarat in the summit clash of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament in Indore on Thursday.
Iyer made 82 off 137 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries and two sixes as Mumbai reached 208 for three in their second innings to take a handy lead of 108 runs at stumps on day three of the five-day encounter.
Besides Iyer, young opener Prithvi Shaw, who made 71 in the first innings, smashed a quick-fire 44 off 35 balls.
Shaw and Akhil Herwadkar (16) got Mumbai off to a quick start in the second essay with 54-run opening stand before medium pacer Chintan Gaja (3/54) picked up both the Mumbai batsmen in quick succession.
Gaja first accounted for Herwadkar in the 10th over and then induced an edge from the dangerous-looking Shaw in the 14th over, which Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel accepted with both hands.
Then, Iyer and Surya Kumar Yadav stitched a 127-run partnership for the third wicket to bring Mumbai back into the game after the former champions conceded the first innings lead to their opponents.
But Iyer, who was batting confidently till then, was dismissed, giving a straight-forward catch to Patel behind the stumps off Gaja in the 60th over with the scoreboard reading 193.
At stumps, Yadav was batting on 45 along side Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare (13 not out).
Earlier, resuming their first innings on 291 for six in reply to Mumbai's 228 all out, the remaining four Gujarat batsmen could add just 37 runs before being bowled out for 328 in 104.3 overs.
Paceman Shardul Thakur (4/84) picked up four wickets for Mumbai while Balwinder Sandhu (3/63) and Abhishek Nayar (3/101) shared the remaining six wickets between them.
After conceding the first innings lead, Mumbai have no option but to go for an outright win in the remaining two full day's ply if they are to clinch the Ranji title for a record 42nd time.
Mumbai: 228 & 208 for three in 67 overs (Shreyas Iyer 82, Suryakumar Yadav 45 not out, Prithvi Shaw 44; Chintan Gaja 3/54).
Gujarat: 328 all out in 104.3 overs (Parthiv Patel 90, Manprit Juneja 77; Shardul Thakur 4/84).
Image: Mumbai's Shreyas Iyer