Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were dismissed cheaply in yet another pathetic batting show by Delhi, who are now staring at a big defeat against table toppers Karnataka in their final Tanji Trophy group A match in New Delhi.
Having conceded a first innings lead of 87 runs after Karnataka scored 289 in their first innings, Delhi were tottering at 132 for six at stumps on day three with a lead of 45 runs and four wickets in hand.
Sehwag's (11) woeful first-class season might have ended as he was trapped by a HS Sharath delivery that hit him below knee-roll having cut back a little. The umpire had little hesitation in giving him out.
He had slashed one for four over slips in his 34-ball stay. Sehwag's Ranji season ended with 234 runs at a dismal average of less than 20 in 13 innings with a second innings 50 against Haryana.
It will be highly unlikely that Sehwag will be picked in the North Zone team with the likes of Jiwanjot Singh and even his opening partner Gambhir (578) having scored lot more than him.
Gambhir (26) again played those streaky shots through the slips with only confident boundary being clip through mid-wicket. He was dismissed before Sehwag when a ball kept low and he didn't commit fully on front foot as it thudded on the pads.
Manan Sharma was also adjudged leg before by Ronit More (3/27) when a delivery hit him low as Delhi were 41 for three going into tea.
Mithun Manhas (32) hit some flowing boundaries and just as he was getting into the groove, Shreyas Gopal's acrobatic catch off his own bowling saw him head back to pavilion. Rajat Bhatia (30) and Rahul Yadav (17) tried to stem the rot with a 39 run stand before Ronit bowled an outswinger that took edge off Bhatia's bat to land in CM Gautham's gloves.
Yadav also lost his concentration, dragging one back to his stumps as Delhi were in total mess with six down before umpire stopped play due to bad light. Varun Sood was on eight and Manoj Chauhan had not opened his account.
Earlier, rookie opener Karun Nair (105) got his maiden first class century, driving Manan Sharma through mid-on as Karnataka managed 63 runs more to their overnight total of 226 for five.
Nair was finally out when Ashish Nehra (3/39) trapped the youngster leg before as the lower order did not contribute much.
Delhi 202 & 132 for 6 (Gautam Gambhir 26, Virender Sehwag 11, Ronit More 3/27).
Karnataka 287 (Karun Nair 105, Stuart Binny 88, Varun Sood 3/93, Ashish Nehra 3/39).
Lahiri bowls Bengal to victory over TN
Chennai: Exploiting a spin-friendly track, Saurashish Lahiri wreaked havoc with a career-best seven-wicket haul as Bengal sealed a spot in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals after a gap of six years, courtesy their narrow four-run win over formidable Tamil Nadu.
Needing 185 to win, Tamil Nadu, starting the day at 102 for one, were shot out for 180 as Bengal got six points from the match to take their tally to 24 from eight games.
With Baroda on the verge of losing their match against Saurashtra, having conceded first innings lead, Bengal have ensured their passage to the last-eight stage.
The victory comes as a major boost as it came on a pitch that was virtually kept under-prepared by the host association in order to ensure a smooth passage into knock-out.
In the end, the move by Tamil Nadu coach WV Raman backfired badly as veteran Lahiri ripped through the middle-order.
"We didn't have Manoj Tiwary (injured), Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami (on national duty) yet we have beaten two domestic heavyweights like UP and Tamil Nadu in two matches. I tell youngsters like Writtick (Chatterjee), Abhimanyu (Easwaran), Gitimoy (Basu) that more than runs, what we needed is big heart. They showed that they have a big heart," Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla said.
Veteran off-spinner Lahiri with match-figures of 10/95 was the wrecker-in chief as he removed Dinesh Karthik (62), S Badrinath (21), Baba Indrajith (2) to set alarm bells ringing TN camp.
"It's not my best performance as I consider my five-for against Karnataka at Mysore on a flat deck some seven seasons back as my best effort. Here I was getting help from the track. But yes, this is the most special win of my 15-year domestic career," an ecstatic Lahiri said.
"Winning against a Tamil Nadu side with players like DK (Dinesh Karthik) and Badri is a big achievement. In fact the turning point was when I trapped Badri leg before. This is a season where I have re-discovered myself. It has been my best season for Bengal as an all-rounder," said Lahiri, who has 242 wickets and close to 2300 runs in first-class cricket.
He also got a desperate Karthik, who was playing well until then to go for an aerial shot which was taken by Ashoke Dinda at mid-on, placed a bit deeper.
Baba Indrajith (2) got a leading edge off Lahiri and Abhimanyu Easwaran took the catch at silly-point.
Skipper L Balaji's decision to promote himself didn't work out as he was out for 1 being adjudged plumb in-front.
Vijay Shankar (0) then tried to cut against turn as Gitimoy Basu took a good catch to give Lahiri his fifth victim. Baba Aparajith (33) fought at the other end.
Aparajith was finally taken by Easwaran at silly point off Arnab Nandi as TN slumped to 156 for seven.
Lahiri got his sixth when he had R Prasanna (5) caught by Gitimoy and got his seventh when Rahil Shah was caught by Writtick Chatterjee.
It was Malolan Rangarajan (11) and R Aushik Srinivas (10) who added 22 runs for the final wicket before Writtick trapped Rangarajan to script one of the famous victories for Bengal.
Bengal 130 and 139.
Tamil Nadu 85 & (target 185) 180 in 81.5 overs (Dinesh Karthik 62, Saurashis Lahiri 7/62).
Dewan's 273 keeps Haryana in Ranji top-tier
Bhubaneswar: Opener Rahul Dewan hit a magnificent 273 to ensure that Haryana remained in the top tier of Ranji Trophy after taking a 384-run first-innings lead against Odisha on the third day of their final Group A league match.
A win for Odisha is now out of equation as they trail by 351 runs overall after ending the day at 33 for no loss in their second innings.
Three points from a draw on the basis of first innings lead will be enough for Haryana to push Jharkhand to the bottom of the nine-team Group A table, thereby saving themselves from relegating to Group C.
Dewan, batting on 136 overnight, extended his score to 273 and his third-wicket partnership with Sachin Rana to 311, as Haryana declared on a mammoth 626 for four with two other batsmen also scoring centuries.
Dewan faced 461 balls and struck 35 fours in bettering his previous best first-class score of 254 not out. Rana made 157 from 213 balls, with 14 fours and six sixes. His dismissal brought to the crease wicketkeeper Nitin Saini, who hit an unbeaten 114-ball 102 that contained nine fours and five sixes. Saini put on 150 with Dewan for the fourth-wicket in just 182 balls
Odisha: 242 and 33 for no loss in 16 overs (Govind Podder 14 batting, Girija Rout batting 19)
Haryana: 626 for 4 in 149 overs (Rahul Dewan 273, Sachin Rana 157, Nitin Saini 102 not out).
Punjab spinners sink Jharkhand to an innings defeat
Dhanbad: Part-time offspinner Gurkeerat Singh and left-arm tweaker Rajwinder Singh finished with match-haul of eight wickets each as Punjab progressed into the knockout round by hammering Jharkhand by an innings and 173 runs in a Ranji Trophy Group A match.
The result meant that Jharkhand will have to return to Group C after just one season.
Off-spinner Gurkeerat took four for 59, while Rajwinder (3/38) and Rahul Sharma (3/15) picked three wickets apiece to skittle Jharkhand for 127 in their second innings at the Railway Stadium.
Punjab bowlers took just 34.1 overs to bowl the hosts after they were asked to follow on Punjab skipper Mandeep Singh on day three here.
Resuming the day on 210 for 9, Jharkhand could add only six runs to end their first innings 300 run behind Punjab's total of 516.
Left-arm spinner Rajwinder added one more wicket to his overnight tally of four, bringing up his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. Asked to bat again, Jharkhand failed to negotiate the spin trio of Gurkeerat, Rajwinder and Rahul.
Opener Rameez Nemat, who made 81 in the first innings, was the only batsman to resist once again as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Nemat made 48 off 85 balls, including seven fours.
Gurkeerat finished with match figures of eight for 99, while Rajwinder spent 106 runs to claim his eight scalps.
Jharkhand: 216 & 127 allout 34.1 overs (Rameez Nemat 48, Kumar Deobrat 24; Gurkeerat Singh 4/59)
All to play for in Mumbai-Gujarat match
Valsad: A splendid rearguard action by their batsmen and three quick wickets have kept Mumbai in contention for a berth in the quarter-finals even as Gujarat would also fancy their chances as their Ranji Trophy Group A contest is headed for an exciting finish.
In a chase of 175, Gujarat are 67 for three and need to bat cautiously to score the remaining runs while Mumbai would go all out to remove the seven remaining batsmen to move to the knockout stage.
Beginning the day at 76 for four, Mumbai scored 273 to set a 175-run target for the hosts.
Overnight batsmen Hiken Shah and Iqbal Abdulla, both on 4, added 60 runs for the fifth wicket. Their partnership was broken by Rakesh Dhruv when the left-arm spinner had Abdulla (38) caught but the following batsmen kept fighting for Mumbai.
Akshar Patel denied Shah (48) a half-century but Pravin Tambe played a significant knock of 42 runs and then Shardul Thakur (22) and Javed Khan (23) came up with useful knocks to shore up the Mumbai second innings total.
Jasprit Bumrah (4/68) and Askhar Patel (3/71) shared seven wickets between them for Gujarat.
Mumbai then put Gujarat on shaky ground by dismissing Smit Patel (6), Samit Gohel (0) and skipper Parthiv Patel (5) cheaply, with Abdulla removing both the openers.
Bhargav Merai (19) and Askhar Patel (25) then denied Mumbai more success to the end the day at 67 for three as they need to score 108 more runs for an outright win and a place in the quarter-finals.
Mumbai: 154 and 273 in 103.3 overs (Hiken Shah 48, Pravin Tambe 42; Jasprit Bumrah 4/68, Askhar Patel 3/71).
Gujarat: 253 and 67/3 in 22 overs (Askhar Patel 25 batting; Iqbal Abdulla 2/11).
Ghosh, Rawat slam centuries to strengthen Railways
Lucknow: Arindam Ghosh and Mahesh Rawat hit unbeaten centuries to take Railways to a solid 460 for four against Uttar Pradesh in their weather-hit Ranji Trophy Group B match.
After a complete washout on the second day, only 56-over play was possible today and the Railways team strengthened their position as Ghosh scored 167 and Rawat 163.
They two batsmen have so far added 294 runs for the undefeated fifth wicket.
Ghosh has faced 354 balls and helped himself with 21 fours and one six while Rawat scored more briskly as his 163 came off 222 balls with 25 boundaries including two sixes.
Railways are on the top of the Group table with 27 points while UP are third with 23 points. Bengal are second with 24 points.
Hosts Uttar Pradesh had to endure yet another frustrating day after being smashed by the Railways batsmen on the opening day.
Railways 1st innings: 460 for 4 in 145 overs (Arindam Ghosh 167 batting, Mahesh Rawat 163 batting).
Rajasthan in strong position against Baroda
Jaipur: Pacer Pankaj Singh once again rocked Baroda top-order with three wickets as Rajasthan placed themselves in a strong position in their final Ranji Trophy Group B match on the third and penultimate day.
On a day when 15 wickets fell, Rajasthan took a 97-run first-innings lead, and then pushed Baroda onto the back foot by reducing them to 112 for six in their second innings with Pankaj taking three wickets for 55 runs.
When the stumps were drawn for the day, Irfan Pathan was batting on 52 along with Gagandeep Singh (0) with Baroda ahead by 15 runs with just four second innings wickets in hand.
Baroda can only hope for a possible knock-out berth with an outright win from this match, which is unlikely at this stage with just a day left in the match.
It was pacer Deepak Chahar who got the first wicket when he forced Saurabh Wakaskar (12) to edge to wicketkeeper Azim Akthar. Pankaj then got the better of Abhimanyu Chauhan (1) and Aditya Waghmode (0), the first-innings centurion.
Pankaj sent Baroda opener Dhiren Mistry's (21) off stump cartwheeling before Aniket Choudhary, the left-arm seamer, took a wicket off his first ball of the innings, getting Pinal Shah (5) caught behind.
Debutant Naman Kataria got his maiden first-class wicket, an lbw decision against Abhijit Karambelkar (19). Irfan hit a four off Pankaj to bring up his first half-century of the season before play ended due to bad light.
Baroda captain Yusuf Pathan, who was recovering from a fever, did not take the field for the second day. It is not yet known if he will bat tomorrow.
Baroda had started the day on a positive note, with left-arm pacer Gagandeep Singh recording career-best 7/109.
At one point, Rajasthan were 191 for 5, still 45 behind Baroda. Gagandeep took three more wickets, but not before Rajasthan had taken an important 97-run lead.
Baroda: 236 and 112 for 6 in 34 overs (Irfan Pathan 52 batting; Pankaj Singh 3/55)
Rajasthan: 333 all out in 104.4 overs (Vineet Saxena 66, Suryaprakash Suwalka 74; Gagandeep Singh 7/109).
Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photograph: Tim Wimborne