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Rest retain Irani Cup after dull draw

Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer notched up his 48th first-class century while Rest of India retained the Irani Cup by virtue of their first innings lead of 117 runs after their five-day game against the 40-time Ranji Trophy champions ended in a tame draw on Sunday.

Rest, who clinched the title for the 26th time in the tournament’s 51st year, had been virtually assured of supremacy on Saturday itself after notching up 296 for 4 in their second innings for an overall lead of 413 runs at the Wankhede Stadium.

On Sunday, Harbhajan Singh-led Rest side increased the overall lead to a mammoth 506 when they declared their second innings closed at 389 for 5, with Ambati Rayudu remaining unbeaten on 156 after batting for over six hours and hitting 12 fours and 4 sixes.

With draw the only result barring a collapse by Mumbai, the home team cruised along to 160 for 4 wickets with Jaffer, after being ignored for the Test squad against Australia by the selectors who met here, compiling an unbeaten 101 before the game was called off by mutual consent after the third mandatory over in the last hour of play.

Rest, thus, retained the crown they lifted by outclassing Rajasthan by an innings and 79 runs in September last at Bangalore. Rayudu was on 118 and Suresh Raina on 40 when game commenced this morning and the latter got out after notching up 71 with 5 fours and 3 sixes to follow up his first innings top score of 134 out of 526.
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