Hosts Mumbai rode on a solid batting display following their excellent bowling stint and looked poised for an outright win against Punjab on Day 3 of their Ranji Trophy match in Mumbai on Saturday.
After being skittled for a paltry 154 in their first innings, Punjab bowlers allowed the 40-time champions to rake up an imposing total of 569 for 8 declared, conceding a massive lead of 415 to the hosts.
Though Punjab batsmen, in particular opener Jiwanjot Singh (91 in 159 balls, 12 fours) and number four Mandeep Singh (82 not out in 133 balls), showed better application in the second essay, the visitors were still left facing a massive task at close of the penultimate day.
When stumps were drawn for the day, Punjab were placed at 244 for 4 in 77 overs, trailing by 171 runs going into the final day tomorrow on a track where the odd ball turned.
The unbeaten batsmen at close were Mandeep, who has hit 11 fours so far in his 225-minute stay, and Himanshu Chawla (31).
The batsmen out in the Punjab second innings were opener Manan Vohra, his second failure here, Jiwanjot – who was unfortunately run out to break a promising stand of 101 with Mandeep, Uday Kaul and skipper Yuvraj Singh - who was bowled round his legs for 14 while trying to sweep part-time spinner Akhil Herwadkar.
Had Mumbai possessed a better spin attack than what they have in this game - with left arm spinner Harmeet Singh their main hope but not looking really threatening – Punjab could have been in more of a bother.
With the second new ball due early tomorrow, Mumbai would fancy their chances of polishing off the remaining Punjab batsmen and then surging to a victory.
In the morning, Mumbai carried their overnight score from the overnight 495 for 6 to past the 560 mark before declaring.
Skipper Aditya Tare, not out 111 on Friday, remained unconquered on 137 after a five-hour stay during which he faced 172 balls and struck 16 fours.
Punjab: 154 and 244 for 4 (Jiwanjot Singh 91, Mandeep Singh not out 82, H Chawla not out 31)
Mumbai: 569 for 8 declared (S Iyer 200, S Yadav 78, A Tare 137 not out, D Kulkarni 42; S Kaul 2 for 103, Barinder Sran 3 for 87, S Ladda
2 for 197)
Delhi in control after Manan, Sarang ensure lead
In what turned out to be an exciting day of first-class cricket, hosts Delhi capitalized on a slender four-run first innings lead to take control of their Ranji Trophy group league encounter against Vidarbha.
After scoring 302 in their first innings courtesy an 88-run ninth-wicket stand between Manan Sharma (53) and debutant Sarang Rawat (42), Delhi bowlers came back strongly to reduce Vidarbha to 47 for four in their second essay.
An outright victory looks imminent as Vidarbha are only 43 runs ahead with six wickets in hand.
The day belonged to Manan and Sarang who ensured at least three points for Delhi after they were reduced to 196/8 after being 161 for two at one stage.
Buoyed by the small lead, Delhi bowlers came out all guns blazing as Pradeep Sangwan (2/22) castled Faiz Fazal and then induced dangerous looking Wasim Jaffer (20) who was caught brilliantly by stand-in captain Unmukt Chand diving to his left in the slip cordon.
Ishant Sharma (1/9) then bowled flat out to trouble the batsmen with sheer pace as Ganesh Sathish (9 batting) failed to touch four consecutive deliveries. An identical ball saw Shalabh Srivastava edge one to Mohit Ahlawat behind stumps.
In between Manan removed S Badrinath, having him plumb in front to give his team complete command over proceedings.
Vidarbha: 298 & 47/4 (Pradeep Sangwan 2/22, Ishant Sharma 1/9)
Delhi: 1st innings 302 (Gautam Gambhir 96, Nitish Rana 61, Manan Sharma 53, Sarang Rawat 42, Akshay Wakhare 5/113)
Assam take upper-hand against Rajasthan
Assam rode on K B Arun Karthik's patient 151-run knock to post a mammoth 422 for nine in their first innings before reducing Rajasthan to 47/3 on day 3 of their Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ cricket match in Guwahati.
Resuming at overnight 212/4 in reply to Rajasthan's first innings total of 186, Assam's middle order, spearheaded by Karthik, put up a splendid performance to give the home team complete command of the match.
Karthik shone the brightest among Assam batsmen with his 315-ball 151, which included 12 hits to the fence and three over the boundary.
Later, Swarupam Purkayastha (47) and Kunal Saikia (50 not out) also made noteworthy contributions to pile on the agony for Rajasthan bowlers.
K Ajay Singh was the pick of the bowlers for Rajasthan with figures of 5/116.
In reply, Rajasthan had their back against the wall after being reduced to 47/3 with Krishna Das scalping two wickets.
Assam: 422/9 declared in 151 overs (K B Arun Karthik 151, Swarupam Purkayastha 50, K Ajay Singh 5/116)
Rajasthan: 186 and 47/3 in 15 overs (Ashok Menaria 20 batting, Krishna Das 2/13)
Kerala set for first-innings lead against Hyderabad
Kerala are certain to take the first-innings lead as they reduced Hyderabad to 207 for eight in their Ranji Trophy group league match in Hyderabad.
At stumps on the third day of the Group C match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, hosts Hyderabad were trailing by 194 runs with two wickets remaining in the first innings.
Resuming on their overnight score of 40 for one, Hyderabad found the going tough through the day with left-arm spinner Karaparambil Monish (6/91) being the wrecker in chief.
For the home side, opener Akshath Reddy top-scored with 73 off 196 balls. He hit seven fours and a six.
At close of play on the penultimate day, Balchander
Anirudh was batting on 54 off 143 balls.
Mundhe claims six wickets as Maharashtra take slender lead
Shrikant Mundhe's six-wicket haul enabled Maharashtra take a slender first innings lead over Odisha on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ match in Cuttack.
In reply to Maharashtra's first innings total of 281, Odisha were bundled out for 267 in their first essay as Mundhe wreaked havoc with figures of six for 62.
Having taken a small 14-run lead, Maharashtra reached 156 for three in their second innings at the close play on Saturday with an overall lead of 170.
Resuming on 167 for four, Govinda Podder, starting on 78 and Pratik Das, on overnight score of 32, went to complete a ton and a half-century, respectively.
But apart from these two, none of Odisha's lower order batsmen could even reach the 20-run mark, thus conceding a slight first-innings lead.
Podder scored a 205-ball 100, which included 14 fours, while Das' 63 came off 148 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and two sixes.
The duo also put on a solid 145 runs together for the fifth wicket.
But after these two got out, the remaining four wickets fell for just 37 runs.
Maharashtra, in their second innings, got off to a good start with opener Swapnil Gugale scoring 71.
At stumps, Kedar Jadhav was unbeaten on 16 and Ankit Bawne was on 19.
Maharashtra: 281 & 156 for three in 55 overs (Swapnil Gugale 71).
Odisha: 1st innings: 267 all out (Govinda Podder 100, Pratik Das 62; Shrikant Mundhe 6/62)
Services set to take first innings lead against Goa
Despite opener Swapnil Asnodkar scoring a fine century, Goa could reach 268 for eight, still needing another 134 runs to avoid conceding the first innings lead to Services, on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy Group ‘C’ match in Porvorim, Goa.
With just two wickets remaining, Goa have uphill task to overhaul Services' first innings score of 402. The visitors look set to take lead tomorrow in a game heading for a draw.
Resuming at an overnight score of 63 for two, Goa lost six wickets on Saturday with none of the batsmen, expect Asnodkar, making it count.
Asnodkar was the lone batsman to make a mark with his 139 (358b, 14X4). He played a sedate knock as he took the battle into rival camp even as wicket tumbled at regular interval at the other end.
At stumps, Shadab Jakati (13) and Rituraj Singh (6) were at the crease.
For the visitors Diwesh Pathania (3/86) and P S Poonia (3/45) were the most successful bowlers claiming three wickets each.
Services: 1st innings: 402
Goa: 1st innings: 268 for eight (Swapnil Asnodkar 139; Diwesh Pathania 3/86, P S Poonia 3/45).
Baroda beat Railways by innings and 113 runs
Baroda produced a disciplined effort with the ball as they romped to a comfortable innings and 113-run victory over Railways in their group league Ranji Trophy cricket match in Vadodara.
After declaring their first innings at a mammoth 500 for eight on the third day of the Group B game, the Baroda bowlers cut short Railways' second innings at 221 in 61.3 overs for another commanding performance with the ball at the Moti Bagh Stadium.
The visitors were bowled out for 166 in their first innings on the first day.
Resuming on their overnight score of 448 for six, Baroda added another 52 runs before skipper Aditya Waghmode called for declaration.
Batting on 41 at the start of day, Hardik Pandya got out after scoring 64 and soon the hosts declared.
Anureet Singh was the most successful bowler for Railways, returning figures of five for 111.
In their second innings, Railways were again off to a disastrous start, reeling at 44 for five in the 22nd over.
Prashant Awasthi (67) and Karn Sharma (51) were involved in a century partnership, but that only delayed the inevitable.
For Baroda, Pandya took three wickets to finish with eight in the match, besides his half century.
There were two wickets apiece for Sagar Mangalorkar, Yusuf Pathan and Bhargav Bhatt.