New Delhi: Captain Gautam Gambhir served a timely reminder to the selectors with a potentially match-winning knock of 153 while Virender Sehwag failed yet again as Delhi closed in on a comprehensive outright win against Haryana in a Ranji Trophy Group League encounter at Roshnara Club, on Saturday.
Resuming on 35 for no loss, Delhi declared at 312 for seven leaving Haryana with a stiff target of 376.
At stumps on the third day, Haryana were reeling at 63 for five with debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood picking up three wickets for three runs.
The day belonged to Gambhir who faced 215 balls hitting as many as 25 fours. He batted for nearly five hours and stepped the run rate after reaching his 100 to set up Delhi for their first victory in the tournament.
With the Test squad for South Africa set to be announced in a couple of days, Gambhir has certainly made a case for himself in the reserve opener's slot.
Sehwag didn't have any such luck as he played another rash shot trying to slash a delivery from medium pacer Ashish Hooda away from his body only to offer a simple catch to Sunny Singh at first slip.
Sehwag made just six to continue his poor run with the bat. The veteran batsman has scored 69 runs from six innings this season.
Gambhir, on the other hand, was patient enough. He had a lot of edges that flew past slip and gully region but still managed to hit some good cover drives, pull shots and lofted shots over extra cover.
He reached his century with a slash over point but after reaching his ton was more fluent.
He got some good support from Mithun Manhas, who smashed his way to 36 off 37 balls before retiring hurt due to a hamstring pull.
Rajat Bhatia also played a cameo scoring 56 off 51 balls adding 124 runs in just over 20 overs which helped Delhi declare their innings with at least two hours to go at the
Nitin Saini (29) and Abhimanyu Khod (29) did all the hard work for 16 overs before Saini mistimed a pull shot with Pawan Suyal taking a good catch running in from deep fine leg.
Then it was debutant Sood's turn. He first bowled one that breached Sunny Singh's defence and then trapped Hooda and Rahul Dalal leg before wicket to peg Delhi back.
Ishant Sharma claimed the wicket of Khod who was caught by Punit Bisht behind the stumps.
Delhi: 201 and 312/7 dec (Gautam Gambhir 153, Rajat Bhatia 56 no)
Haryana: 138 and 63/5 (Varun Sood 3/3).
Chawla's ton helps UP give the lead against Tamil Nadu
Meerut: Piyush Chawla led from the front with an unbeaten century to give Uttar Pradesh the crucial first innings lead over Tamil Nadu in the Group B match.
Leg-spinner Chawla showcased his batting abilities during his 114-run unconquered knock and together with wicket-keeper Eklavya Dwivedi (70) added 97 vital runs for the seventh wicket to bail UP out from trouble.
Chawla, who got a reprieve on nine when Abhinav Mukund put down a fairly straightforward chance at point, laced his 236-ball knock with 12 boundaries and three huge sixes, while Dwivedi struck 10 fours and one six during his 174-ball stay.
At stumps, Amit Mishra (30) was the other not out batsman along with Chawla as the duo shared 109 runs for the eighth wicket to take UP to 411 for seven.
With UP already taking 114 runs first innings lead and just one full day's play remaining, the match is heading for a tame draw.
Earlier resuming at the overnight score of 171 for five, Prashant Gupta (73) managed to add only 18 runs to his score before he was cleaned up by left-arm orthodox bowler R Aushik Srinivas (3/123).
Tamil Nadu bowling attack looked listless as they managed to pick up just two wickets in the form of Gupta and Dwivedi in the entire 90 overs.
Baba Aparajith, who dismissed Dwivedi, was the other wicket taking bowler for Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 297 all out in 107 overs.
Uttar Pradesh 1st innings: 411 for seven in 158 overs (Piyush Chawla 114 not out, Eklavya Dwivedi 70; R Aushik Srinivas 3/123).
Saha hits fifty to boost Bengal against Saurashtra
Kolkata: Wriddhiman Saha scored his third half-century in as many matches as Bengal crawled to 194 for eight in their second innings which took their overall lead to 272 against Saurashtra at the Eden Gardens.
Saha (52) and Anushtup Majumdar (69) added 92 crucial runs for the fifth wicket to provide Bengal with a decent lead by the end of the third day.
With a day's play left, Bengal would hope that their last two wickets atleast consume enough time on the final day in order to snuff out any hopes that Saurashtra will harbour of making a match of it.
Starting the day with an overall lead of 83, Bengal were reduced to 59 for four by the 30th over courtesy of fine spell of bowling from Sandeep Maniyar and Abhishek Bhatt.
Opener Arindam Das toiled to score 27 off 82 balls but makeshift opener Sourashis Lahiri (12), young Sandipan Das (1) and regular opener Rohan Banerjee (4) coming in at No. 4, were dismissed cheaply.
Then it was Saha and Majumdar, who came in and batted for more than 31 overs to frustrate the Saurashtra bowlers.
Saha faced 141 balls hitting six boundaries while Majumdar had seven hits to the fence in 156-ball knock.
Saha was finally removed when he flashed one from medium pacer Chirag Jani to wicketkeeper Sheldon Jackson. Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) also edged one to Jackson behind the stumps.
Bengal were reduced to 189 for eight when Bhatt removed Subhomoy Das and Majumdar to grab his third and fourth wickets respectively.
Bengal: 303 and 194/8 (Wriddhiman Saha 52, Anushtup Majumdar 69, Abhishek Bhatt 4/47, Chirag Jani 3/54).
Saurashtra 1st innings: 225.
Vidarbha-Karnataka tie heads for a draw
Nagpur: With the match heading towards a tame draw, both Vidarbha and Karnataka look to fight it out for the first innings lead, as the third and penultimate day ended with the two teams sharing honours in their Ranji Trophy Group A match.
In reply to Vidarbha's 542, Karnataka reached 252 for two in their first innings at the close of play. The visitors trail the hosts by 290 runs with eight wickets in hand at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha.
Starting the day on 457 for six, Vidarbha lost overnight batsman -- skipper Shalabh Shrivastava -- early with the addition of just six runs to his last night's score of 187.
Shrivastava blasted 22 boundaries during his 193-run knock off 488 balls, besides adding 103 runs for the seventh wicket with the other overnight batsman Sumit Ruikar (67).
Important contributions from tailenders Amol Jungade (15) and Umesh Yadav (34) ensured that the hosts cross the 500-run mark.
Medium pacer HS Sharath of Karnataka was the pick of the bowlers with four for 104.
Karnataka got off to a great start in reply to Vidarbha's massive total, with Robin Uthappa (86) and Mayank Agarwal (71) putting on 124 runs for the opening wicket.
At stumps, Lokesh Rahul was unbeaten on 59 and giving him company at the other end was Manish Pandey on 21. The duo has already added 49 runs for the third wicket.
Vidarbha 1st innings: 542 all out (Shalabh Shrivastava 193, Faiz Fazal 147, Sumit Ruikar 67; HS Sharath 4/104).
Karnataka 1st innings: 252 for two (Robin Uthappa 86, Mayank Agarwal 71; Akshay Wakhare 1/36).
Punjab in complete control against Gujarat
Mohali: Taruwar Kohli (50) and Uday Kaul (52 not out) notched up half-centuries as Punjab put themselves in the drivers' seat by posting 309 all out in their second innings against Gujarat.
Resuming at 127 for two, Punjab added another 182 runs with Kohli and wicketkeeper Kaul playing a major role. Mandeep Singh (46) was the other batsman who chipped in with a substantial score at the PCA Stadium.
Kohli was solid in his 146-ball innings which was studded with five fours and a six while Kaul played an attacking innings by hitting 10 boundaries in his 93-ball knock.
For Gujarat, Jasprit Bumrah and Mehul Patel grabbed three wickets apiece while Rakesh Dhruv took two wickets.
Set with a victory target of 355, Gujarat were reduced to 33 for three from 24.5 overs at stumps on Day 3. The visitors need another 322 runs with seven second innings wickets in hand.
Smit Patel, Manpreet Juneja and Bhargav Merai were out cheaply for 0, 3 and 6 respectively. Sandeep Sharma Jr. grabbed two while Siddarth Kaul took one.
Punjab: 172 and 309 all out in 111.5 overs (Taruwar Kohli 50, Uday Kaul 52 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 3-63, Mehul Patel 3-79).
Gujarat: 127 and 33 for 3 in 24.5 overs (Sandeep Sharma Jr. 2-7).
Gadekar, Kamat hit fifties for Goa but Maharashtra in control
Pune: Harshad Gadekar and Sagun Kamat hit half-centuries to take Goa to 297 for five in their first innings in reply to Maharashtra's mammoth 635 on Day 3 of the Group C match.
While Gadekar was unbeaten on 86 off 294 balls with the help of 13 boundaries, Kamat made a fine 83 that came off 179 balls and was studded with eight hits to the fence and three sixes.
At stumps on Day 3, wicketkeeper Keenan Vaz was giving Gadekar company at the crease with Goa still trailing Maharashtra by 338 runs with five wickets in hand.
Resuming at their overnight score of 73 for one, Goa lost Swapnil Asnodkar at the team score of 101.
Then Gadekar and Kamat joined hands and played cautiously to share 151 runs for the third wicket.
But Maharashtra bowlers picked up three wickets, including that of Kamat, towards the fag end of the day to put Goa in a spot of bother.
The pace duo of Shrikant Mundhe (2/68) and Domnic Joseph (2/74) shared four wickets between them for Maharashtra.
Maharashtra 1st innings: 635 all out in 153.4 overs
Goa 1st innings: 297 for five in 116 overs (Harshad Gadekar 86 not out, Sagun Kamat 83; Shrikant Mundhe 2/68).
Railways take upperhand against Rajasthan
Jaipur: Railways shot out Rajasthan for 178 in their first innings but themselves collapsed to 150 even though it was enough to set a challenging target of 256 for the hosts in the Ranji Trophy Group B match.
On a dramatic day, 14 wickets fell as Rajasthan failed to hold on for too long from the overnight 142 for six. The Railways response was not too impressive either but it was
just enough to post a challenging target.
In reply, Rajasthan were five for no loss at stumps with Siddharth Saraf (4) and Vineet Saxena (0) at the crease for the home side.
Anureet Singh Singh, Krishankant Upadhyay and Ranjitkumar Mali picked up three wickets apiece to send Rajasthan packing for 178 in the morning session.
However, Railways themselves endured a spectacular batting collapse to be skittled out for 150. Only Nitin Bhille managed to put up a semblance of fight with his 170-ball 50.
As many as seven Railways batsmen were dismissed in single digit scores. For Rajasthan, Deepak Chahar and Aniket Choudhary scalped three wickets apiece to wreck the Railways' batting in 62.5 overs.
Railways: 283 and 150
Rajasthan: 178 and 5 for no loss in three overs.
Yashpal's century gives Services upper hand over MP
New Delhi: Yashpal Singh scored a fine century as Services posted 391 on the third and penultimate day to take a 152-run first innings lead before reducing Madhya Pradesh to 127 for three in their Ranji Trophy Group B league encounter.
Madhya Pradesh still trail by 25 runs with seven wickets remaining.
Resuming on 256 for three, overnight batsman Yashpal, starting on 81, went on to complete his century but his partner Rajat Paliwal (99) could add just eight more runs to
his last night's total to fall only a run short of his ton.
The overnight duo raised a solid 164-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Yashpal then joined hands with Vishnu Tiwari (32) to put on 52 runs for the sixth wicket to put Services on top. His innings of 142 came off 270 balls with 13 boundaries and three sixes.
For MP, Jalaj Saxena was the pick of the bowlers with figures of four for 83.
Already 152 runs behind, MP got off to a poor start in their second innings, losing Jalaj Saxena (4) early.
The other opener in Satyam Choudhary (15) also fell cheaply to leave the visitors reeling at 30 for two.
But Naman Ojha and Mohnish Mishra (31) came to the team's rescue, sharing a crucial 71-run stand for the third wicket.
At stumps, Naman was unbeaten on 61 and giving him company at the other end was Devendra Bundela on five.
Services 1st innings: 391 all out (Yashpal Singh 142, Rajat Paliwal 99; Jalaj Saxena 4/83).
MP: 239 and 127 for three (Naman Ojha 61 not out, Mohnish Mishra 31; T Koteswar Rao 2/18).
Mohanty's six-wicket haul puts Odisha in control against Jharkhand
Cuttack: Pacer Basant Mohanty wrecked havoc with a six-wicket haul to put Odisha in command on the third and penultimate day of their Group A Ranji Trophy match against Jharkhand.
Mohanty grabbed all the six Jharkhand wickets that fell on Day 3 as the visiting side ended the day at 149 for six.
Saurabh Tiwary (57) and Pappu Singh (56 not out) were the only two Jharkhand batsmen who put up some resistance as the visitors now lead by 63 runs with four wickets in hand.
After conceding a 86-run first innings lead to Odisha, the visiting side made a disastrous start to their second essay with their top three batsmen perishing at the team score
Jharkhand continued their awful batting and were reduced to 37 for five before Tiwary and Singh shared 99 runs for the sixth wicket to rescue their team.
Earlier, Odisha were all out for 307 in 118.4 overs after resuming the day at 245 for five.
Biplab Samantray could add just three runs to his overnight of 64 as Odisha added 62 more runs in 19.4 overs.
Jharkhand: 221 and 149 for 6 in 59 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 57, Pappu Singh 56; Basant Mohanty 6/63).
Odisha 1st innings: 307 all out in 118.4 overs (Biplab Samantray 67; Ajay Yadav 5/61).
Image: Gautam Gambhir