Rajasthan [ Images ] batsmen displayed loads of determination as they took their first innings score to 484 for seven against Mumbai [ Images ] at stumps on third day thereby shutting out any hopes that the defending champions harboured of making an improbable comeback in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final being played at Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
The hosts now enjoy an overall lead of 232 runs and are likely to bat for another hour, which will allow former India [ Images ] U-19 captain Ashok Menaria (71 batting) to get his maiden century in first-class cricket.
This is certainly one of the most memorable matches that the team has played in the last few years with the performance of the senior state team hitting an all-time nadir. During the last season, Rajasthan had the ignominy of finishing last in Plate Group.
The day started with Rajasthan needing 18 runs to surpass Mumbai's first innings score of 252. Skipper Kanitkar who was unbeaten on 96 duly completed his 29th century in first-class cricket.
Kanitkar (113) and other centurion Vineet Saxena (143) took the total to 270 when India discard Abhishek Nayar [ Images ] trapped Kanitkar leg before ending the decisive 240-run partnership.
With the lead in pocket, Rajasthan batsmen played even more freely. Robin Bisht (4) and Saxena were out with the score at 316 but Menaria and former Orissa batsman Rashmi Ranjan Parida (53) added 78 runs for the fifth wicket to consolidate the position of the hosts.
Menaria was particularly severe on the spinners as he hit Iqbal Abdulla for three sixes and burly offie Ramesh Powar [ Images ] for another couple of huge hits. With Vivek Yadav (38), he added another 83 runs for the sixth wicket to end any chances that the overwhelming favourites had.
Mumbai 1st Innings 252
Rajasthan 1st innings: 484/7 (V Saxena 143, H Kanitkar 113, A Menaria 71 batting; A Nayar 4/97).
Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] at 312/7 against Karnataka [ Images ]
Indore: Karnataka took a healthy first innings lead of 161 runs against Madhya Pradesh before reducing them to 312 for seven on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Super League quarter-final match.
Replying to Madhya Pradesh's 200 all out, Karnataka started the day at 306 for eight to eventually get all out for 361 in their first essay.
Madhya Pradesh then ended day three at 312 for seven in their second innings, taking a lead of 151 with Ankit Sharma (24) and TP Sudhindra (11) at the crease.
The match witnessed some great resistance from Madhya Pradesh batters -- Naman Ojha [ Images ] (68), Mohnish Mishra (45) and Abbas Ali (64) on the day.
Earlier, wicketkeeper batsman CM Gautham after resuming on 29, scored a half-century while Abhimanyu Mithun [ Images ] managed to score a valuable 28 to give the visitors a good start and strengthen their position.
Gautham scored a fine 51 off 97 balls with a help of five fours before Jalaj S Saxena dismissed him.
Mithun, who added another 10 runs to the total along with Sreenath Aravind (4 not out) after Gautham's departure, was sent back by Ankit Sharma.
In their second innings, Madhya Pradesh got off to a solid start with openers Naman Ojha and Jalaj S Saxena putting up a 84-run stand.
But Saxena failed to sustain and fell for 22, Ojha however, continued in the able company of Mohnish Mishra to capitalise on the start.
But once Ojha fell, Mishra soon followed him into the dressing room, while the new batsman in Devendra Bundela (9) also got out cheaply.
Abbas Ali, however, managed to consolidate the innings, playing a superb knock of 60-ball 64, studded with eight fours. He also shared valuable 56-run stand with Harpreet Singh (19), followed by a 36-run partnership with Murtaza Ali.
Even after Abbas' departure, Murtaza (38) carried on with Ankit Sharma before the former got run out.
For Karnataka, Joshi (2/93) and Mithun (2/49) ended with two wickets each, while Vinay Kumar took one.
Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 200 all out
Karnataka 1st innings: 361 all out (Amit Verma 85, CM Gautham 51; Jalaj S Saxena 4/43)
Madhya Pradesh 2nd innings: 312 for seven in 74 overs (Naman Ojha 68, Abbas Ali 64; Abhimanyu Mithun 2/49).
Baroda inch closer to Ranji semi-finals
Baroda: Railways put on a brave fight but Baroda have almost put one foot in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals courtesy their good batting in the first innings.
Baroda began the third day of the quarter-final match at 303 for four and folded for 416, taking a very healthy overall lead of 168-runs.
Railways put up a better show in the second innings by reaching 220 for four and after erasing the deficit, they were leading by 52 runs at stumps on day three.
Prashant Awasthi was top scorer for Railways with an unbeaten 85 while opener Shreyas Khanolkar (56) also scored a half-century in their second essay.
Khanolkar and Murali Kartik [ Images ] (28) gave a good start to Railways by adding 44 for the opening wicket but Kartik and Sanjay Bangar fell in a gap of six deliveries.
Khanolkar and Awasthi then put on 103 runs for the third wicket to take the fight to the hosts.
The partnership ended when Khanolkar was caught and bowled off paceman Sankalp Vohra.
Awasthi and Karan Sharma (30) though ensured that the good work does not go waste as they added 62 runs for the fourth wicket.
Sharma departed just before the stumps and left Jai Prakash Yadav (8) to give company to Awasthi.
Earlier in the day, Baroda's centurion Kedar Devdhar (122) could not add any run to his overnight score and was trapped by Yadav.
The other not out batsman Rakesh Solanki also departed early, adding just five runs after starting the day at personal score of 18.
It was some gutsy batting Sankalp Vohra (34) and Munaf Patel [ Images ] (36) which helped Baroda cross the 400-run mark.
TN look set to make semi-final cut
Rohtak: Foggy weather again played the spoilsport during third day's play in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final between Haryana and Tamil Nadu being played at the Bansi Lal Stadium in Rohtak.
Only 24 overs of play was possible as visitors scored 72 for two after Haryana decided to declare at their overnight score of 379 for six.
With chances of having a decision on basis of first lead looking remote, Tamil Nadu now have a better chance of qualifying for the last four phase.
In case of the entire day's play being ruled out, Tamil Nadu with a better quotient (1.594) than Haryana (0.979) straightaway makes the cut.
In case another six overs of play in the second innings is possible, then the run-rate of the current match will be taken into account.
In a match interrupted by weather, the if team batting second plays a minimum of 30 overs and has a better run-rate than team batting first, it goes through.
For example, Tamil Nadu are maintaining a run-rate of 3 per over. If they can score another 26 runs in the next six overs, their score at the end of 30 overs will be 98 which will be good enough to take them to the last four stage as their run-rate will be 3.27 better than Haryana's innings run-rate of 3.26.
Tamil Nadu started the innings on a positive note with both KB Arun Karthik (24) and Abhinav Mukund (30 batting) adding 39 runs before seamer Sanjay Budhwar got Arun karthik to edge one to Sunny Singh in the slips.
Subramanium Badrinath-- the highest run-getter in the tournament so far hit a couple of boundaries to reach 13 before Joginder Sharma got him out in an identical fashion as Arun Karthik. Sunny Singh took his second catch.
The winner of this particular match in all likelihood will meet Rajasthan in the semi-final.