A round-up of the opening day action of various Ranji Trophy group league matches on Saturday.
Awana's late strikes help Delhi restrict Haryana to 219-6
Speedster Parvinder Awana's late strikes towards the end of the day's play helped Delhi restrict Haryana to 219 for six at stumps at the Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli.
Awana removed Sachin Rana and rival captain Amit Mishra in quick succession with the second new ball as the hosts frittered away a good start provided by openers Rahul Dewan (71) and Nitin Saini (45).
The duo added 69 runs for the opening stand but save Rahil Dalal (42 batting), the others didn't make any significant contribution.
Awana finished the day on three for 39 from 17 overs.
The pitch was dry in nature which forced Delhi management to include off-spinner Manoj Chauhan who gave away 89 runs in 27 overs. Although the young off-spinner was successful in beating the batsman on a few occasions, he wasn't consistently giving the ball air or inviting the batsmen to drive.
While the dogged Dewan batted for more than four hours for his 170-ball-71 which had six boundaries, Haryana batsmen never managed to force the pace and as a result don't have too many board at the end of the first day's play.
The day started with Saini and Dewan giving a solid start and the breakthrough came in the 23rd over. Saina drove an Awana delivery uppishly towards mid-off where Rajat Bhatia took the catch.
Dewan and Sunny Singh (28) then added another 50 runs before Sunny was cleaned up by Sumit Narwal as the burly Bhiwani boy was bowled through the gate.
The resilient Dewan was finally out of the last delivery of the 59th over when left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra bowled him as the opener deagged the ball onto his stumps.
The highlight of the day certainly will be veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia bowling off-breaks for five overs rather than his normal military medium stuff. Gauging that there is some turn on offer, the intelligent Bhatia bowled proper off-breaks and invited Abhimanyu Khod (15) to drive one and the resultant nick was gobbled up by Puneet Bisht.
If Delhi can restrict Haryan with 250, Shikhar Dhawan and his boys can think of notching up an outright win.
Brief Scores: Haryana 219-6 (Rahul Dewan 71, Nitin Saini 45, Rahul Dalal 42 batting, Parvidner Awana 3-39) vs Delhi.
Badrinath's unbeaten ton propel TN to 235-3 against Vidarbha
Subramaniam Badrinath knocked the doors of national selectors yet again with an unbeaten century as Tamil Nadu ended day one comfortably placed at 235 for three in their Group B match in Nagpur.
Badrinath, who is yet to cement his place in the Indian Test team, remained unconquered on 101 off 190 balls to set the platform for a big first innings score for Tamil Nadu.
Sent into bat, Tamil Nadu's innings revolved around Badrinath, who decorated his unbeaten knock with 14 hits to the fence and one over it. After the dismissals of openers Arun Karthik (26) and Abhinav Mukund (33), Badrinath joined hands with wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik to raise 133 runs for the third wicket.
Karthik was unlucky to have missed out on a fifty as he departed just one run short of his half ton, caught by wicket-keeper Urvesh Patel off the bowling of off-spinner Sumit Ruikar. Promising all-rounder Baba Aparajith (11) was giving Badrinath company at stumps.
Left-arm pacer Shrikant Wagh scalped two wickets for Vidarbha, conceding 57 runs while Ruikar (1-42) accounted for the other Tamil Nadu batsmen to fall on the day.
Brief Scores: Tamil Nadu: 235 for three in 90 overs (Subramaniam Badrinath 101 not out, Dinesh Karthik 49; Shrikant Wagh 2-57).
Smit, Gohel put Gujarat in a comfortable position
Young Smit Patel scored his maiden first-class century while Samit Gohel scored a patient 85 to take Gujarat to a comfortable position against Hyderabad in their Group A match in Valsad.
Gujarat were comfortably placed at 254 for two at stumps and are well on course to post a big first innings total at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.
Hyderabad's decision to field first backfired as Smit and Gohel raised 163 runs for the opening stand.
In the process, Smit notched up his maiden first-class ton, an impressive 114 off 240 balls which was laced with 15 hits to the fence.
Gohel, playing only in his second first-class match, was not far behind as he scored his 85 off 186 balls during which he struck 14 boundaries.
It took Hyderabad bowlers 55 overs to break the century partnership between Smit and Gohel when Anwar Ahmed induced an edge from Gohel which was gleefully collected by Abhinav Kumar behind the stumps. Gohel's dismissal hardly had any affect on Smit who went about his business in style and stitched another important partnership -- this time 87 runs for the first wicket with Bhargav Merai -- to take Gujarat forward.
Smit fell just 4.1 overs before the close of play. He edged a Lalit Mohan delivery to wicket-keeper Abhinav while trying to cut the left-arm spinner. Merai was batting on 45 at the draw of stumps and giving him company at the other end was Kushang Patel (2).
Brief Scores: Gujarat: 254 for two in 90 overs (Smit Patel 114, Samit Gohel 85; Anwar Ahmed 1-18).
Punjab bowl out Rajasthan for 222
Siddarth Kaul led a disciplined bowling effort as Punjab bundled out Rajasthan for 222 and gain the upper hand against Rajasthan in Mohali.
At stumps in the Group A match, the hosts were 20 for one, with opener Jiwanjot Singh back in the hut at the PCA stadium.
Punjab now trail the visitors by 202 runs with nine wickets remaining in the first innings. Medium-pacer Kaul returned impressive figures of four for 63 while Sandeep Sharma finished with three for 72. There were two wickets for Baltej Singh.
Puneet Yadav topped the scoring for Rajasthan with a knock of 57 that came off 74 balls, and was studded with 11 hits to the fence.
After being dealt with a few early blows, Rajasthan seemed to have recovered with a half-century stand between Yadav and Ashok Menaria (32), but the former was trapped in front by Sharma in the 30th over.
Rajesh Bishnoi made 23 even as Deepak Chahar took the visitors past 200 with a handy 35. Karan Goel and Ravi Inder Singh were batting on 11 and seven respectively when the stumps were drawn.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 1st innings: 222 all out in 70.3 overs (Puneet Yadav 57; Siddarth Kaul 4-63, Sandeep Sharma 3-72). Punjab 1st innings: 20 for no loss in 20 overs.