Young Harshal Patel broke the backbone of Karnataka's batting line-up with a career-best eight-wicket haul to put underdogs Haryana in the driver's seat on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Bangalore on Monday.
Opting to bat on a greenish wicket, hosts Karnataka could put up a niggardly 151 as the 21-year-old Patel wreaked havoc in his three short but productive spells to return with awe-inspiring figures of 16.5-7-40-8.
In reply, Nithin Saini and Rahul Dewan complemented Patel's bowling, knitting together 120 runs for the unbroken opening stand by close of play.
Unlike the Karnataka batsmen, Saini (batting 55) and Dewan (batting 63) applied themselves on the M Chinnaswamy stadium wicket and batted with rare aplomb.
In effect, Haryana are barely 31 runs adrift of Karnataka's first innings total with three more days play remaining in the match.
Saini struck 11 fours during his 152-minute vigil at the wicket while Dewan hit 10 boundaries during his imperious essay.
Karnataka have their task cut out in the remainder of the contest. They can come back into the game only if they contain Haryana to a first innings total under 350.
But considering their bowling resources, it is unlikely that the six-time champions can make a fist of Haryana's challenge.
Bowling in seamer-friendly conditions, Patel raked in the scalps of K B Pawan (0), Ganesh Satish (11) and Bharat Chipli in his first spell (7-4-18-3) to leave Karnataka staggering on the ropes at 40 for 3.
Returning for another spell, after Mohit Sharma had the dangerous Robin Uthappa snared at second slip by Sachin Rana, Patel picked the important wickets of in-from batsman Stuart Binny (22) and Amit Verma (5).
Binny looked the most comfortable among the Karnataka batsmen before he shouldered arms to a Patel delivery which curled back and hit his unprotected off stump.
Verma followed his ebullient partner to the pavilion, nicking Patel to Rana at second slip.
C M Gautam (26) and Sunil Raju (21) offered brief resistance by producing 40 runs for the seventh wicket and raised hopes of a Karnataka fightback.
But skipper Amit Mishra put paid to their hopes, having Raju snaffled by Sunny Singh at first slip.
Brought on to bowl with intent to run through the Karnataka lower order, Patel removed Gautam, K P Appanna and S L Akshay in a trice to complete Karnataka's misery.
Brief Scores: Karnataka 151 all out in 49.5 overs (R Uthappa 35, C M Gautam 26; H Patel 8/40) vs Haryana 120-0 in 38 overs (R Dewan batting 63, Nithin Saini batting 55).
Mumbai 70-5 after dismissing MP for 192
Hosts Madhya Pradesh made a strong comeback, running through Mumbai's top-order after being dismissed for a paltry 192 on the first day of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final, at the Holkar stadium in Indore, on Monday.
At stumps, Mumbai were precariously placed at 70 for 5 -- still needing 123 runs to get the first innings lead.
However, if the first day's play is an indicator, an outright result is certainly on the cards.
Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer won the toss and elected to field. The track assisted the seamers and the trio of Dhawal Kulkarni (5/74), Kshemal Waingankar (3/29) and Balwinder Singh Sandhu (2/74) bowled in good areas to dismiss the opposition in 55.1 overs.
For the home team, their in-form batsman Udit Birla smashed an unbeaten 63 off only 50 balls, including 13 boundaries.
However, the pace duo of Kulkarni and Sandhu gave away at least 30 runs more than what was expected, as Birla, TP Sudhindra (23) and Amarjit Singh (16) were allowed some easy boundaries. Sudhindra and Amarjeet, in fact, hit eight boundaries between them.
When Mumbai came out to bat, Omkar Gurav (6) and Praful Waghela (17) started on a cautious note, adding 26 runs in 14 overs.
But Sudhindra breached Gurav's defence in his seventh over, the 15th of the innings. In the next over, he got an in-swinger that trapped southpaw Waghela plumb in-front.
While Kautubh Pawar (batting 30, 5x4) held one end up, Jaffer's nightmare of a season continued as he was snapped up wicketkeeper Naman Ojha off medium pacer Amarjeet Singh. Jaffer scored only one. All-rounder Murtuza Ali then came on to bowl his seam up stuff and got rid of dangerous Surya Yadav (12) and night-watchman Waingankar (0).
Brief Scores: Mahdya Pradesh 192 (U Birla 63, M Mishra 33; D Kulkarni 5-74, K Waingankar 3-29, B S Sandhu 2-74) vs Mumbai (for 5 wkts, 33 overs) 70 (K Pawar batting 30; T Sudhindra 2-14, M Ali 2-2).
Aakash Chopra rallies Rajasthan
Opener Aakash Chopra's dogged half century, and an equally gritty effort by glovesman Dishant Yagnik, enabled Rajasthan to post 220 for 5 at stumps on the first day of their quarter-final against Hyderabad in Hyderabad.
Chopra batted the whole day for his 82, facing 272 deliveries in the process. He hit six boundaries.
With Yagnik, the former India opener added 91 runs for the unbroken
Yagnik, who is batting on 60, faced 130 deliveries and hit seven fours. The duo came in when Rajasthan were in discomfort at 129 for five.
The slide started in the first over when the experienced Vinit Saxena was caught by Arjun Yadav off pacer Anwar Ahmed's bowling.
Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (4) then edged an outgoing delivery from the other new-ball bowler Kaushik Naidu into Ibrahim Khaleel's hands.
Robin Bist (12), the current highest scorer in the National championship, was adjudged leg-before off left-arm spinner A Lalith Mohan.
At 30 for 3, Rashmi Ranjan Parida (26, 6x4) joined Chopra and the two pros took the score to 63. Parida used his feet well against the spinners but nicked one to Khaleel off left-arm spinner Mehdi Hassan.
Puneet Yadav (33, 53 balls, 3x4) played confidently as his partnership with Chopra yielded 56 runs before a Mohan delivery caught the former plumb in-front.
However Chopra and Yagnik played with lot of caution. For Chopra, this was his 49th first-class half century and he now stands 18 shy off his 29th century in the longer version.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan 220-5 in 90 overs (A Chopra batting 82, D Yagnik batting 60; L Mohan 2-63) vs Hyderabad.
Maharashtra 204-4 vs Tamil Nadu
Minnows Maharashtra played cautiously to amass 204 for 4 at stumps, on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Tamil Nadu in Chennai.
Maharashtra started on a confident note, with openers Harshad Khadiwale and Chirag Khurana adding 116 runs in 46 overs.
Khadiwale, who took bulk of the strike, was at his best against both medium pacers and spinners. He scored 61 (157b, 8x4), while Khurana was dismissed for 44 (134b, 4x4).
However, Tamil Nadu gained the upper hand after skipper Lakshmipathy Balaji dismissed Maharashtra's leading batsman Ankit Bawne for just 19 (78b, 2x4). Bawne edged Balaji to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
At stumps, Sangram Atitkar, who came in at the fall of opener Khadiwale's wicket, was undefeated on 50 (105b, 4x4, 1x6) with Rohit Motwani (2) for company.
The match started 90 minutes behind schedule due to a sudden downpour.
Brief Scores: Maharashtra (H Khadiwale 61, G Kharuna 44, S Atitkar batting 50) vs Tamil Nadu