Middle-order batsman Mandeep Singh notched up an unbeaten century to steer Punjab [ Images ] to a healthy 288 for four at stumps on day one of their four-day Ranji Trophy league match against Mumbai [ Images ], on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Jalandhar-born batsman, who went into the game with just 89 runs from five matches this season, utilised fully the three chances offered by the butter-fingered Mumbai fielders to remain unbeaten on 102 at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mandeep, who pulled and drove handsomely while striking 14 fours and a six off left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan, was dropped on 67, 74 and 93 in the slips before reaching his maiden first-class hundred in his 22nd game with an on-driven boundary in 162 balls. He had batted for 228 minutes and faced 168 balls.
Mandeep put on a stand of 128 in 204 balls for the third wicket with Ravi Inder Singh, who made 76 with the help of 14 fours.
The right-hander then added 51 runs for the fourth wicket with another left-hander, Uday Kaul (19) to further cement Punjab's position before the latter fell to the last ball, edging a rising ball from Dhawal Kulkarni to the slip cordon.
Ravi Inder also added 52 runs for the second wicket with in-form opener Jiwanjot Singh who came into the match with 619 runs in his debut season with two hundreds and a double hundred. The latter got two 'lives' in his 42 off 121 balls.
Punjab, put into bat by Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar [ Images ], started well on a track assisting seamers with Jiwanjot, who hit six fours, and Karan Goel [ Images ] (25) laying a good platform by put on 57 runs for the opening wicket.
The latter departed after edging Agarkar to Ajinkya Rahane [ Images ] who later let off Mandeep twice in the second slip.
Jiwanjot was then let off twice in close succession by wicketkeeper Aditya Tare and Rohit Sharma [ Images ], but he could not take full advantage of the lives.
Brief scores: Punjab 1st innings 288 for 4 (Jiwanjot Singh 42, Ravi Inder Singh 76, Mandeep Singh not out 102; Ajit Agarkar (2 for 54), Dhawal Kulkarni (2 for 61) vs Mumbai.
Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images