Minnows Jharkhand grabbed a handy 86 runs-first innings lead of over defending champions Mumbai and then increased it substantially by reaching 176 for 5 in their second innings on day three of their Ranji Trophy Group A match in Mumbai on Sunday.
Jharkhand, who rode on a blistering knock of 238 by Saurabh Tiwary, dismissed the home team for 265 by wrapping up the remaining five Mumbai first innings wickets this morning, 28 minutes before lunch on the penultimate day of the game at the Wankhede Stadium.
The visitors, who are at the bottom of the league table, later ensured they did not collapse in their second essay as openers Bhavin Thakkar (39) and Rameez Nemat (32) gave them a sound start of 65 which was capitalised upon by Tiwary (38) and Ishank Jaggi, who was unbeaten on 51 made off 92 balls with a six and 7 fours.
Left-handed Tiwary and Jaggi put on 75 runs in only 71 minutes for the fourth wicket before the former was caught behind off Javed Khan. Khan also dismissed wicket-keeper Pappu Singh who shouldered arms and was bowled off the last ball of the day.
At stumps, the visitors were 262 runs ahead of Mumbai and stood poised to take at least three points from the game.
In the morning, Mumbai's best chance of overtaking Jharkhand's first innings total lay with the unconquered sixth wicket pair of Hiken Shah and Suryakumar Yadav who were not out on 46 and 49 respectively in an overnight team score of 210 for 5.
Both completed their centuries but then were dismissed in close succession at the same total of 236 to virtually blow away group leaders Mumbai's hopes of taking the first innings lead.
Shah was sent back for 58 when he was bowled by leg-spinner Qadri and eight balls later Yadav, who made 63, edged to the slip cordon off Shiv Shankar Rao.
The duo's sixth wicket stand was worth 163 and but for it Mumbai would have conceded a bigger first innings lead.
Javed Khan left three runs after, but Shardul Thakur, who made 23, managed to pull the score past the 260 mark in the company of Vishal Dabholkar who was last out for a duck after facing 34 balls in one hour's stay.
Thakur flicked at Varun Aaron and got a leading edge to be caught at mid-off while Dabholkar was sent back by rival skipper Nadeem. Aaron secured four wickets while left arm spinner Nadeem got three.
Brief scores: Jharkhand 351 and 176 for 5 (Bhavin Thakkar 39, R Nemat 32, S Tiwary 38, I Jaggi batting 51; J Khan 2 for 23). Mumbai 265 (A Tare 67, H Shah 58, S Yadav 63; V Aaron 4-42, S Nadeem 3-65, S Qadri 2-36).
Shukla leads Bengal fightback vs Services
Captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla led from the front with an unbeaten 87 as Bengal reached 252 for seven in reply to Railways' first-innings score of 306 in a group B Ranji Trophy encounter at the Jamia Millia Islamia Sports Complex in New Delhi on Sunday.
Bengal require another 55 runs to take the first-innings lead but Railways still look favourites to take the final three wickets.
Shukla, who faced 130 balls hitting nine fours and two sixes, added 54 runs for the 8th wicket with Iresh Saxena (5 batting). Saxena did well to hang around for more than hour and half despite relentless pressure applied by the Railways bowlers led by pacer Anureet Singh (4/87).
If Shukla's fightback was the highlight of the post-lunch session, the first half of the day was dominated by Railways skipper Murali Kartik, who 'Mankaded' Bengal batsman Sandipan Das (19) in the final over before lunch after having warned him in his previous over.
In the morning, Subhamoy Das (20, 121 balls, 2x4) and Gitimoy Basu (56, 259 balls, 5x4) continued with their defensive batting before Anureet got the breakthrough.
He got one to nip back in as Subhamoy was adjudged leg before. Anustup Majumdar (0)'s horrible form continued as he played to a wrong line to get clean bowled.
From 80 for one, Bengal were soon 80 for three in 58.3 overs when Sandipan came in. The youngster showed some positive intent in his stroke-play before the freak dismissal brought about his end.
Basu's six hours and 23 minutes stay at the wicket, which in fact put more pressure on the team, finally ended when he played a cut-shot which landed in second slip Jonathan Rongsen's hands off Updhayay's bowling.
Arnab Nandi (4) also didn't last long shouldering arms to an off-cutter from Anureet as Bengal were reeling at 153 for six. Veterans Shukla and Saurashis Lahiri (25) got together as they started scoring runs at a faster pace than Gitimoy and Co.
Lahiri got a howler from umpire P Jayapal when the tall all-rounder was hit on the front foot by Anureet when he tried to play a forward defensive stroke.
Shukla and Saxena then played confidently during the next hour and half with the Bengal skipper hitting some delightful strokes all around the wicket. It included square drives, lap shot, square cuts and pull-shots.
Brief Scores: Railways: 306.
Bengal 252/7: (Laxmi Ratan Shukla 87 batting, Gitimoy Basu 56, Anureet Singh 4/87).
UP beat Services by an innings and 14 runs
Uttar Pradesh bowlers produced a disciplined effort to register a comfortable innings and 14 runs win over Services in their Group B Ranji Trophy match in Ghaziabad on Sunday.
Starting their second innings with a deficit of 205 runs after the hosts posted 369 all out in their first innings, Services were bowled out for 191 in 57.5 overs at the Mohan Meakins Cricket Stadium.
Skipper Rajat Paliwal was the lone bright spot for Services as he scored a fluent 95 off 127 balls even as the others failed to put up a fight in the face of some disciplined bowling by the UP bowlers.
Medium pacer Imtiaz Ahmed emerged as the most successful bowler, returning figures of 3 for 16, while there were two wickets apiece for spearhead R P Singh, Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla.
Shadab Nazar was the second best scorer with 29 runs to his name. Paliwal struck 15 fours during his knock on the third day.
A lot of credit for the win should also be given to Eklavya Dwivedi, who top-scored in the match with a calculated 131, which consolidated UP's position after they bundled out the visitors for 164 in their first innings.
Services 164 & 191 in 57.5 overs (R Paliwal 95; Imtiaz Ahmed 3/16).
TN take first innings lead vs Baroda
Dinesh Karthik narrowly missed out on a century but Tamil Nadu managed to take a 71-run first-innings lead over Baroda on the third and penultimate day of their Group B Ranji Trophy match in Chennai on Sunday.
Karthik was the lone batsman to take the hosts past Baroda's first innings total of 162, even as other batsmen failed to reach the double-digit mark, except for M Rangarajan (10).
Tamil Nadu's first innings folded for 233 as Baroda skipper Yusuf Pathan wreaked havoc with figures of six for 84, while Bhargav Bhatt chipped in with three for 79.
Karthik, who scored a 150-ball 92 (8X4, 3X6), put on a solid 83-run stand for the fourth wicket with Baba Indrajith, followed by another valuable 39 runs for the sixth wicket with Rangarajan.
Resuming on 101 for five, Karthik, starting on 23, went on to play a patient knock, while Indrajith, who was unbeaten on 23 last night, could add just 15 more runs before getting out for 38 (99b, 5X4).
Baroda, in their second innings, reached 73 for one at close of play.
After the dismissal of opener Saurabh Wakaskar (20), Dhiren Mistry and Aditya Waghmode made sure there was no further damage on the day.
While Mistry was unbeaten on 29, Waghmode was on 19 when the stumps were drawn.
Baroda: 162 & 73 for one in 33 overs (Dhiren Mistry batting 29),
Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 233 all out (Dinesh Karthik 92, Baba Indrajith 38; Yusuf Pathan 6/84).
Rajasthan on top against MP
Rajasthan looked set to win their Group B Ranji Trophy match against Madhya Pradesh after reaching 77 for three in a chase of 148 against the hosts on the third and penultimate day of the match in Gwalior on Sunday.
Overnight on 121 for two, Madhya Pradesh were all out for 314, courtesy Naman Ojha's 137-run knock which came off 204 deliveries and included 20 fours and three sixes.
But the second innings revival could not make up for the hosts' collapse in the first essay (115 all out) as Rajasthan were left to chase just 148 runs.
The loss of a couple of early wickets was hardly a dampener for the visiting side which needs 71 more runs to seal the victory on Sunday.
At stumps, Robin Bist (39) was at the crease and would be joined by skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar tomorrow after Vineet Saxena (29) just before stumps.
Ishwar Pandey took both the Rajasthan wickets to fall on Sunday.
Earlier, Madhya Pradesh’s middle-order batsmen failed after a solid showing by the top half of the line-up.
Opener Jalaj Saxena (65) and Ojha combined to put together 86 runs for the second wicket. Saxena's 65 came off 88 deliveries and included 13 boundaries.
Later skipper Devendra Bundela contributed 54 runs off 115 balls even as the rest of the team failed to come good.
For Rajasthan, Rituraj Singh picked four for 74 in 23.3 overs. Pacer Pankaj Singh picked up three wickets for 82 runs in 26 overs.
Madhya Pradesh: 115 and 314
Rajasthan: 282 and 77/3 in 22.4 overs (Robin Bist 39, Ishwar Pandey 2/28).
Awana help Delhi take first innings lead against Odisha
Delhi pacer Parvinder Awana (5/97) took five wickets after a splendid century by Odisha's Natraj Behera (158) as the visitors took a crucial first-innings lead in their Ranji Trophy group A match in Sambalpur on Sunday.
Led by Awana, Delhi bowled out Odisha for 379, 63 runs behind their first innings total of 442.
Delhi were 49 for two at the end of day's play with skipper Gautam Gambhir back in the hut for just five. The other batsmen to get out was Unmukt Chand (3).
India discard Virender Sehwag remained unbeaten on 32 as he smashed seven fours in 31 deliveries, alongside Mithun Manhas (4).
Earlier, starting day three on 121 for three, opener Natraj, overnight 53, carried on the good work and brought about his fourth first-class century at the Surendra Sai Stadium.
Natraj recorded 157-run stand with Abhilash Mallick (71) for the fifth wicket and looked good to surpass Delhi's first innings total but both fell in quick succession to hand an all important lead to the visitors.
Natraj scored 23 boundaries in his 290-ball knock while Mallick took 105 deliveries for his 71 that included 10 fours and two sixes.
Besides Awana, left-arm spinner Varun Sood (3/67) was instrumental in removing the lower-order batsmen while Ashish Nehra and Sumit Narwal claimed one wicket each.
Delhi were 112 runs ahead with eight wickets in hand. Suryakant Pradhan and Deepak Behera were the wicket takers for Odisha.
Delhi: 442 and 49/2 in 12 overs (Virender Sehwag 32 not out; Suryakant Pradhan 1/16)
Odisha: 379 all out in 115.3 overs (Natraj Behera 158, Abhilash Mallick 71; Parvinder Awana 5/97).
Karnataka inches towards victory over Haryana
Pacer Ronit More picked a five-wicket haul to put Karnataka on the verge of a win in their Ranji Trophy group A match against Haryana in Rohtak on Sunday.
At the end of Day 3, Karnataka were 35 runs away from a victory after their bowlers bundled out the hosts on 105 runs in their second innings.
While chasing a modest 97-run target, Karnataka were 62 for four with skipper C Gautam (5) and Stuart Binny (0) at the crease.
Karnataka, in their first innings, could only add three more runs to their overnight score 253 for nine as Haryana pacer Harshal Patel removed Abrar Kazi to finish with figures of six for 55.
Haryana got off to a disastrous start as Avi Barot was run out for zero. The hosts were delivered regular blows by Karnataka bowlers, led by twenty-one-year-old Ronit, as they failed to build partnerships.
Skipper Rahul Dewan (31) was the highest-scorer for Haryana as his side was dismissed in 48.3 overs.
Ronit gave away just 20 runs in 14 overs to pick his maiden five-wicket haul in first class cricket.
Haryana: 247 and 105 (Rahul Dewan 31; Ronit More 5/20)
Karnataka: 256 and 62/4 in 23 overs (K L Rahul 29; Harshal Patel 2/26).