After taking a crucial 56-run first innings lead, hosts Vidarbha bundled out Rajasthan for a paltry 151 in their second innings ten minutes before close of play on the second day of Plate Group-B Ranji Trophy league match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Grounds in Nagpur on Wednesday.
Vidarbha, who now require 96 runs for an outright win, were yet to open their second innings account with all the ten wickets intact before bad light stopped play after just one ball was bowled.
Resuming at 97 for seven, Vidarbha added 60 valuable runs for the last three wickets with Chandrashekhar Atram conributing 37. P Krishna Kumar emerged as the most successful Rajasthan bowler with four wickets for 45 runs.
Rajasthan, who were 56 runs behind, started their second innings disastrously and were precariously placed at 59 for eight at one stage.
Vidarbha pace trio Chandrashekar Atram (37/3), Sandeep Singh (41/3) and Babulal Yadav (47/2) threatened to ran through the visitors' second innings.
However, Rajasthan skipper Gagan Khoda, returning from an injury break, made a chancy 87 studded with ten fours and three sixes to ensure a possible fightback by the visitors.
Vidarbha 157 and zero for no loss.
Rajasthan 101 and 151 all out (Gagan Khoda 87, C Atram 3 for 37, S Singh 3 for 41, B Yadav 2 for 47).
Debutant opener M P Vardhan's ton and his 159-run opening wicket stand with Ratan Singh (60 not out) put Jharkhand in a strong position against hosts Saurashtra on the second day of the Ranji Trophy cricket Plate Group A match in Rajkot on Wednesday.
At stumps, nightwatchman Sahid Khan (4) was giving Ratan company as the visitors closed 98 runs behind Saurashtra's first innings on 176 for two.
Replying to Saurashtra's 274, the opening pair started cautiously but soon prospered with Vardhan being more aggressive. His strokeful century came in 203 balls with 20 fours before he was needlessly runout towards the fag end of the day. Ratan Singh returned unconqured after hitting four fours in 180-ball stay.
For Saurashtra, Sitanshu Kotak got one wicket.
Earlier, Saurashtra resumed at their overnight score of 230 for six and added 44 runs before being all out in 109 overs. For Jharkhand, S Panda and S Rao bagged three wickets each.
Saurashtra (1st innings): 274 all out.
Jharkhand (1st innings): 176 for 2 (M P Vardhan 106, R Singh 60 batting).
Sreeshant claims a hat-trick
Veteran leg spinner Ananthapadmanaban picked his 300th scalp and seamer S Sreeshant claimed a hat-trick but Kerala were in trouble, tottering at 165 for seven in their first innings against Himachal Pradesh on the second day of the Ranji Trophy 'Plate' cricket match in Palakkad on Wednesday.
Resuming at 321 for 2, Himachal Pradesh were dismissed for 465 with Sangram Singh scoring an unbeaten 206, which included 24 hits to the fence and a six.
Manvinder Bisla, who was unbeaten on 133 overnight, added one more run this morning before edging to wicket-keeper Deepak off medium pacer Sreeshant.
Sreeshant completed a hat-trick by claiming Ajay Manu and Paras Dogra in his next two deliveries.
Sreeshant was the most successful bowler for the hosts, picking five wickets for 103 runs.
Ananthapadmanabhan bagged his 300th wicket in Ranji Trophy when he dismissed Virender Sharma (34).
Kerala lost opener C M Deepak (0) and debutant Jagadesh (1) with the total at 4/2. Though Sreekumaran Nair (25) and another debutant opening batsman Abishek Hegde (22) and Ajay
Kuduva (31) scored some runs, Kerala lost wickets regularly.
At stumps, K Chandrasekhara was batting on 34 and Sureshkumar on 17.
Himachal Pradesh (1st innings): 465 all out (Sangram Singh 206 not out, Manvinder Bisla 134, Virender Sharma 34, Sreeshant 5/103, Sureshkumar 3/45).
Kerala (1st innings): 165 for seven (A Hegde 22, Sreekumar 25, A Kudua 31, V Bhatia 3/67, A Thakkur 2/15).