Sushant Marathe scored a brilliant century, and added 189 runs for the opening wicket with Kaustubh Pawar, to help Mumbai post 203 for 3 against Uttar Pradesh on the first day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match in Lucknow on Tuesday.
Marathe scored 102 off 163 balls, studded with 15 fours, while Pawar hit a patient 76 off 191 balls, laced with 10 boundaries, at the Dr Akhilesh Das Stadium to give Mumbai a rollicking start.
Electing to bat, Mumbai raked up runs with consummate ease before losing Marathe, Abhishek Nayar (4) and Pawar in quick succession in the last session to slip from 189 for no loss to 203 for three in 62.1 over.
For UP, Bhuvneshwar Kumar scalped two for 64, while Piyush Chawla took one for 40 on the first day of the match, which started nearly two hours behind the schedule due to cold and fog.
Night-watchman Dhawal Kulkarni (2) and Mumbai captain Wasim Jafar (0) were at the crease at the draw of stumps.
It's a do or die situation for UP, which lost its last match against Railways by an innings. They need a good performance to remain in race for the title.
Mumbai 203-3 (Kaustubh Pawar 76, Shashank Marathe 102; Bhuvnesh 2-64, Chawla 1-40) vs UP
Tamil Nadu flourish on Mukund, Badrinath tons
Abhinav Mukund and Subramaniam Badrinath smashed centuries as Tamil Nadu put themselves in a commanding position by reaching 283 for 2 on the opening day of their Elite Division match against Gujarat in Ahmedabad.
Opener Mukund was unbeaten on 150, off 264 balls, including 24 boundaries, while Badrinath scored 102, off 214 balls, including 14 fours.
The duo shared 223 runs in 70.5 overs for the second wicket after opener Murali Vijay was out for a duck in the first over of the day, bowled by Ishwar Chaudhary, after Tamil Nadu elected to bat at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.
The Gujarat bowlers were sent on a leather hunt after the first success and had to toil till midway into the final session of the day, when Badrinath fell leg before to Chaudhary.
At stumps, wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was giving Mukund company on 25.
For Gujarat, Chaudhary claimed 2-61.
Placed at the top of Group B with 14 points from four matches, Tamil Nadu are assured of a place in the knock-out round.
Gujarat, on the other hand, are still not out of the danger of being relegated, as they are seventh among eight teams, with seven points from four matches, just two more than bottom-placed Bengal.
Tamil Nadu 283-2 (90 overs) (Abhinav Mukund 150 not out, S Badrinath 102; Ishwar Chaudhary 2-61) vs Gujarat.
Shivakant Shukla misses ton as Railways crawl
Opener Shivakant Shukla missed the three-figure mark by only four runs, but his painfully slow batting alongside skipper Sanjay Bangar saw Railways crawl to 204 for 5 against Orissa, on the first day of their Elite group match at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi.
After scoring 94 runs in 34 overs in the first session, the home team suddenly went into a shell, scoring only 110 runs in the next 56 overs.
Shivakant, who scored 98 in the previous match against UP, scored his half century in the pre-lunch session but could barely get going in the second and third sessions.
He was out in the penultimate over of the day, leg before to offie Govind Poddar.
The decision was a debatable one as the ball seemed like travelling over the stumps. The southpaw scored 96 from 264 balls, inclusive of 12 boundaries and a six.
Shivakant and skipper Bangar (46, 165 balls, 3x4, 1x6) added 107 runs for the third wicket after seamer Alok Mangaraj and No 3 batsman Nitin Bhille were dismissed in the first hour.
Shivakant played some good shots square of the wicket while Bangar showed a bit of intent in the first session when he tried to use his feet against the spinners.
The Orissa bowlers bowled with a lot more discipline in the second session. Medium pacer Basant Mohanty came from around the wicket to cramp the batsmen for room.
It was medium pacer Biplab Samantray who found Bangar's pads and then dismissed Prashanth Awasthi off the very next delivery.
Suddenly, from 148 for 2, Railways slumped to 148 for 4, but Mahesh Rawat's positive approach helped the home team get some quick runs. Rawat hit six boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 38 and was batting in company of Ashish Yadav at stumps.
Railways 204-5 (Shuvakant Shukla 96, Sanjay Bangar 46, Mahesh Rawat 38 batting, Biplab Samantray 2-32) vs Orissa.
Naman Ojha scores second successive hundred
Naman Ojha scored his second successive century to put Madhya Pradesh in a strong position at 278-3 on the opening day of their Elite division match against Haryana in Rohtak.
The wicketkeeper and opening batsman smashed 22 fours and five sixes during his 160-run knock, off 226 balls, after Madhya Pradesh elected to bat at Bansi Lal stadium.
He had scored a match-winning 107 in Madhya Pradesh's second innings against Delhi in Indore on Friday.
Ojha shared two substantial partnerships during his productive knock -- 102 for the opening wicket from 39.2 overs with Zafar Ali (38) and 101 for the third wicket from 25.1 overs with captain Devendra Bundela (25 not out).
On both occasions, he outscored his partners with a flurry of fours and sixes.
At stumps, Bundela and Udit Birla (29 not out) were at the crease.
For Haryana, Harshal Patel grabbed two wickets for 41 runs, while Ashish Hooda took one for 78.
Madhya Pradesh are well-placed for a knock-out berth from Group B, having 13 points from four matches before this tie, while Haryana are still in a tricky situation, having eight points from four matches.
Madhya Pradesh 278-3 (Naman Ojha 160; Harshal Patel 2-41) vs Haryana.
Punjab make strong start against Karnataka
Half centuries by Sarul Kanwar (89), Karan Goel (71) and Mayank Sidhana (batting 61) helped Punjab amass 278-4 and take the opening day's honours in their Elite Group match against Karnataka in Bangalore.
Opting to bat, Punjab, who are hoping to augment their position to secure a berth in the quarter-finals, lost a well-set Goel just before draw of stumps at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Punjab were well-served by Kanwar and Ravi Inder Singh (24) who raised 101 runs for the first wicket.
Kanwar and Indier had applied themselves to the task before the latter was run out.
Karnataka, who have virtually qualified for the quarter-finals, having aggregated 20 points before this game, were lucky to dismiss Kanwar, bowled by off-spinner Sunil Raju.
The premature fall of Uday Kaul, who was caught behind by C M Gautam off N C Aiyappa, raised Karnataka's hopes of running through the rest of the Punjab batting. But Goel and Mayank Sidhana put paid to the six-times champions' hope with an enterprising 107-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Goel's stubborn 71 was laced with ten boundaries.
Punjab 278-4 in 91 overs (Sarul Kanwar 89, Goel 71, Mayank Sidhana (batting) 61) vs Karnataka.
Tons by Saxena, Yadav propel Rajasthan to 369 for 7
Riding on superb centuries by Vineet Saxena (127) and Puneet Yadav (108), defending champions Rajasthan amassed 369-7 against Saurashtra on the opening day of their Elite Division Group A match in Jaipur.
Saurashtra's decision to put the hosts in to bat first paid rich dividend as Rajasthan lost opener Aakash Chopra (6), skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (27), in-form Robin Bisht (22) and Rashmi Ranjan Parida (3) cheaply to find themselves reeling at 103 for 4 at one stage.
But opener Saxena and Yadav steadied the boat in a 215-run stand for the fifth wicket to bail the team out of trouble.
Saxena, who missed out on the three-figure mark this season despite scoring three half-centuries, found a reliable partner in Yadav, who was included in the squad for this match.
But just when things seemed to running out of Saurashtra's hands, Siddharth Trivedi (4/69) gave his side a much-needed breakthrough by getting rid of Yadav after a well-made 108 off 160 balls, including 15 hits to the fence.
Trivedi once again struck to see off Saxena, who scored a 232-ball 127, including 15 boundaries.
He then added his third victim of the last session to his kitty in the form of Dishant Yagnik (34) to help Saurashtra get back to the track.
Gajendra Singh (4) and Rituraj Singh (7) were at the crease when stumps were drawn at the end of day one.
Besides, Trivedi's four-wicket haul, Jaidev Unadkat chipped in with two for 60 and Sandeep Maniar took one for 60.
Heaping praise on Saurashtra bowlers, Saxena said, "Unadkat was too good extracting good movement from favourable conditions and Trivedi also bowled in right areas and was rewarded in the last session."
Rajasthan 369-7 (Vineet Saxena 127, Puneet Yadav 108; Siddharth Trivedi 4-69) vs Saurashtra.
Dhawan, Bhatia rally Delhi after Dinda strikes
Medium pacer Ashok Dinda rocked Delhi's top-order before half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Rajat Bhatia helped them score 252 for 8 at stumps on the opening day of their Elite Group B match in Kolkata.
At stumps, Bhatia was batting on 59 with Manoj Chauhan (6).
Dinda swelled his wicket tally this season to 25 with figures of 4 for 55.
Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena (2-37) had a fine second spell to help Bengal stage a comeback in the last session, breaking an 81-run sixth wicket partnership between Bhatia and Punit Bisht (40), Delhi's leading run-getter this season.
Delhi, who need an outright victory to have a chance of qualifying outright, were without pace spearhead Ashish Nehra, the former India seamer deciding to rest following back-to-back four-day matches.
The match is equally crucial for Bengal, who also need a victory to come out of the relegation zone.
Bengal (5 points) have one more match against Baroda, while for fourth-placed Delhi (10) this is their last league fixture.
Delhi 252-8 in 80.3 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 76, Rajat Bhatia batting 59; Ashok Dinda 4-55, Iresh Saxena 2-37) vs Bengal.