Round-up of the Day Three action in the Ranji Trophy matches being played in different part of the country.
Unmukt Chand hit a dominant 146 to put Delhi in the drivers seat against a struggling Rajasthan in a Group B match.
Responding to Rajasthan's first-innings score of 141, the Gautam Gambhir-led side declared their innings on 380 for six in a bid to bundle out the opposition once again.
After two fog-hit days, bright sunshine welcomed the Delhi batsmen at the Feroz Shah Kotla as Unmukt took centerstage to register his fifth first-class century, stitching a 93-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mithun Manhas (53).
Unmukt's 235-ball stay was laced with 19 fours and a six while Manhas also maintained a good strike-rate after hitting nine boundaries. Unmukt's departure did not make things easy for the Ashok Menaria-led Rajasthan as Manhas stuck around with Rajat Bhatia (24) to not only put runs on board but also maintain a decent run-rate.
The Gautam Gambhir-led side's good batting show comes after a great start provided by Virender Sehwag (64) on the second day when the dashing batsman managed a 128-run third-wicket partnership with Unmukt.
Rajasthan: 141 and 78-2 in 31 overs (Siddharth Saraf 42 not out; Sumit Narwal 1-11)
Delhi: 380-6 declared (Unmukt Chand 146, Virender Sehwag 64; Aniket Choudhary 3-81).
Mumbai lower-order makes it count on Day Three
Just when all seemed lost for Mumbai, lower-order batsmen Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur fought back to give the visitors a vital first-innings lead
against Uttar Pradesh on Day Three of the Group A match in Kanpur.
Starting the day on 48 for three in response to UP's 206 at Green Park in the four-day encounter, Mumbai were eight down for 173 before Iyer (75) and Thakur (87) stitched a 97-run ninth-wicket partnership to help the Suryakumar Yadav-led side gain lost ground.
Iyer, who is primarily an off-spinner, and Thakur, Mumbai's pace spearhead, batted with purpose to register their maiden first-class half-centuries respectively. After Thakur departed, number-ten Kshemal Waingankar also fought it out with a brave 31 not out, laced with three fours and two sixes.
With only an over possible in UP's second innings, the hosts were 7 for no loss with openers Mukul Dagar and Prasanth Gupta at the crease.
Uttar Pradesh: 206 and 7/0 in 1 over (Mukul Dagar 7 not out, Prasanth Gupta 0 not out; Shardul Thakur 0-7)
Mumbai: 270 (Shreyas Iyer 75, Shardul Thakur 87; Amit Mishra 4-63, Praveen Kumar 3-77, Piyush CHawla 2-40).
Uthappa, Nair put Karnataka in driver's seat
Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair scored sublime fifties to put defending champions Karnataka in a commanding position against Railways.
Railways, resuming the day at 106 for four, were all out for 171 against a high-quality Karnataka pace attack led by Sreenath Aravind (4/43) and Abhimanyu Mithun (3/53). The visitors had made 247 after opting to bat on a tricky surface.
Karnataka were cruising in their second innings, thanks to an unbeaten 130-run stand between the stylish pair of Uthappa (70 runs off 105 balls) and Nair (61 off 98). The two remained unbeaten at stumps with Karnataka at 131 for one and leading by 207 runs.
Karnataka are now assured of getting three points for securing the first-innings lead and will be going for their third win on the trot. The outcome will also depend on how the weather holds.
Karnataka: 247 and 131/1 (Robin Uthappa 70 batting, Karun Nair 61 batting; Anureet Singh 1/43)
Railways: 171 (Anustup Majumdar 38, Abhishek Kaushik 59; Sreenath Aravind 4/43).
Jadhav strikes ton before Bawne gets hit on helmet
Kedar Jadhav struck an unbeaten century to lead a rearguard action by Maharashtra in their Group B match against Punjab in Pune on a day that witnessed a tense moment when visiting side's Ankit Bawne retired hurt after being hit on the helmet.
Resuming on 370 for eight, Punjab were all out for 391 in their first innings. In their second essay, Maharashtra were in trouble at 23 for two, before opener Harshad Khadiwale (61) and Jadhav (109 batting) staged a recovery on the third day of the game at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Jadhav was then associated in an unbroken 148-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rahul Tripathi (59 batting), as the hosts reached 259 for three in 73 overs at close of play. Jadhav struck 13 boundaries and a six in his knock, facing 149 balls.
Khadiwale found the fence 10 times and cleared it once in his 77-ball knock, while Tripathi had six and a six in his patient 149-ball knock.
Earlier, Punjab could add just 21 runs to their overnight score, before Maharashtra wrapped up their innings. Samad Fallah (3/78) and Anupam Sanklecha (3/88) were the best bowlers for Maharashtra. At stumps, the hosts were leading by 78 runs with seven wickets remaining.
Maharashtra: 210 and 259/3 in 73 overs (Kedar Jadhav 109 batting, Harshad Khadiwale 61, Rahul Tripathi 59 batting)
Punjab 1st innings: 391 all out in 103 overs (Yuvraj Singh 136, Jiwanjot Singh 68; Samadh Fallah 3/78, Anupam Sanklecha 3/88).
Fifty-up Paliwal leads strong Services reply
Services batsman Rajat Paliwal hit an unbeaten 72 to lead the teams' strong reply against the Mohammad Kaif-led Andhra Pradesh.
Starting the day on 53 for one in response to Andhra's 234 in the first innings at the Palam Grounds in the four-day encounter, the Yashpal Singh-led Services were 218 for four at stumps, a trail of 20 runs.
After a fighting 47 from opener Soumik Chatterjee, Paliwal and Yashpal got down to business with an 89-run fourth-wicket partnership to make the Andhra bowling look ordinary.
Paliwal, who is still unconquered, registered his seventh first-class fifty in an innings laced with eight boundaries. Yashpal also batted with purpose in his 80-ball stay and hit 11 fours before being scalped by Andhra pace spearhead Paidikalva Vijaykumar, who has picked two wickets so far.
Earlier, Services had made a brave comeback after restricting Andhra to 234 all out from a position of strength (160/3).
Andhra 1st innings: 234 (A Pradeep 59, Ricky Bhi 48 not out; Roshan Raj 4-77, Deepak Punia 4-60)
Services: 214/4 in 82 overs (Rajat Paliwal 72 not out, Yashpal Singh 57, Paidikalva Vijaykumar 2-64).
Jackson's unbeaten 124 takes Saurashtra to a strong position
Sheldon Jackson struck an unbeaten century to take Saurashtra to a strong position by reaching 280 for three in their second innings on the third and penultimate day of their match against Gujarat in Rajkot.
Jackson (124 batting) stitched a 212-run third wicket partnership with Arpit Vasavada (88) to steer Saurashtra out of a potentially slippery situation at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Left-arm spinner Akshar Patel, who will fly to Australia after this match as a replacement of injured Ravindra Jadeja in India's Test squad for the ongoing series, took two Saurashtra wickets for 69 runs.
Starting their second innings trailing by 41 runs, Saurashtra were still a run short of drawing level when they lost their second wicket, that of opener Bhushan Chauhan (19).
Saurashtra: 207 and 280/3 in 90 overs (Arpit Vasavada 88, Sheldon Jackson 124 batting; Akshar Patel 2/69).
Gujarat: 248 all out in 90.5 overs.
TN forced to follow on, MP in drivers seat
Ankit Sharma and Jalaj Saxena displayed their all-round abilities as Madhya Pradesh put themselves at the drivers' seat by forcing Tamil Nadu to follow on
At close on the penultimate day, Tamil Nadu were 152 for three in their second innings after following on. They were 248 all out in their first innings, yielding a 184-run lead to Madhya Pradesh whose captain Devendra Bundela did not have any hesitation to ask the home side to bat again.
The last three days of the four-day match witnessed the home side being pushed to the wall after the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association management decided to provide a newly relaid track to help the home spinners.
But, Madhya Pradesh batsmen, especially Saxena (144), Harpreet Singh (65), Bundela (104) and Ankit (62) took the sails out of the home side bowlers by posting 432 all out in their first innings.
Ankit (5/103) and Saxena (4/57) then produced impressive bowling performances to put paid to the home team batsmen's hope of giving a solid reply in their innings this morning.
Madhya Pradesh: 432
Tamil Nadu: 248 all out in 83.1 (Ramaswamy Prasanna 74; Ankit Sharma 5/103, Jalaj Saxena 4/74) and 152/3 in 44 overs after f/o (Bharath Shankar 45, Abhinav Mukund 48; Ankit Sharma 2/73).
Image: Unmukt Chand
Photo: Getty Images