A summary of Wednesday's play in Ranji Trophy matches across the country.
Hosts Bengal and Delhi fought hard for three points as rain and bad light allowed less than an hour's play on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match, in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
Middle-order batsman Jonty Sidhu was unbeaten on 49 after surviving an lbw off a no-ball, while Subodh Bhati looked edgy for his 25-ball seven as Delhi were 217 for 7, still trailing Bengal by 101 runs, as only 9.3 overs were possible in the entire day.
Both teams will look to get a first innings lead to secure three points, even as more rain is forecast for the final day.
The 53 minutes' was full of action, with pacer Mukesh Kumar bowling his heart out as Bengal looked to wrap up Delhi, which started at the overnight score of 192 for six.
Mukesh gave the breakthrough by trapping overnight batsman Anuj Rawat for zero in the second over of the day.
With the first ball of his next over, Mukesh had Sidhu trapped in front of middle-stump but on referral the delivery was deemed ‘no-ball’ by TV umpire Yeshwant Barde.
The left-handed batsman seemed to have got the benefit of doubt as the bowler looked to have overstepped while landing his heel.
A relieved Sidhu smashed Mukesh for three boundaries in that same over to cruise to 49 as Delhi looked in no trouble from there on.
But the play had to be stopped at 1.23 pm because of bad light.
Early morning showers washed out the first session as the day's proceedings began only at 12.30 pm with Delhi resuming on 192 for six.
Coach-cum-mentor Arun Lal lashed out at Mukesh for bowling the no-ball and said he would impose a Rs 500 fine for each no-ball bowled at the nets from hereon.
"The fault lies with the bowler (Mukesh). We could have bowled them out today. Our team is cursed by no-balls," Lal said, recollecting Ashok Dinda's no-ball that cost them a place in the Vijay Hazare quarter-finals.
"No amount of screaming, swearing-in is working for them. It's not acceptable. From next nets, I will impose a Rs 500 fine for every no-ball."
Lal, however, did not blame the umpiring decision.
"It was not a glaring bad decision by the umpire. Can't say it's a wrong decision. So it's umpires call. It was not an open and shut case."
The previous two matches at Eden Gardens, against Andhra and Gujarat, were too affected by rain and bad light as Bengal had to settle for three points each.
"It's not the rain that bothered us, it's the bad light. Strange rules... Why can't lights be used. These days 90 per cent of the grounds have lights," Lal said, as they are fighting hard for three points from their last home match.
Bengal played their last match in Kalyani, about 70 kilometres from here and secured a bonus point win to jump to third place.
Wet outfield prevents play in Mumbai-HP Ranji tie
The third day’s play in the Ranji Trophy Group B match between Mumbai and Himachal Pradesh was washed out without a ball being bowled due to wet outfield, in Dharamsala.
Rain and the wet outfield had also washed out the second day's play on Tuesday at the picturesque HPCA stadium.
On Wednesday morning there was bright sunshine but an overnight hailstorm meant that there was a delayed start.
The first inspection was called at 11 am, but then deferred to 1 pm by match referee Gaurav Vashisht and umpires S Ravi and Vineet Kulkarni.
A final inspection was scheduled at 2.30 pm, but before that a dark cloud settled above the ground, forcing the umpires to call off the day's proceedings.
Mumbai are sitting pretty on 372 for 5 in their first essay, courtesy an unbeaten 226 by in-form Sarfaraz Khan.
On the fourth and final day, Sarfaraz will be looking to score consecutive triple hundreds, a rare feat in any form of cricket.
Meanwhile, in other Group B encounters, Uttar Pradesh defeated Madhya Pradesh by seven wickets, with young opener Aryan Juval hitting an unbeaten 74 in their pursuit of 175 at Indore.
At the Motibaug ground in Vadodara, Saurashtra thrashed hosts Baroda by four wickets.
In Delhi, at the Karnail Singh stadium, Karnataka surpassed Railways’s first-innings total of 182 and now have a narrow 17-run first innings lead, with wicketkeeper S Sharath (56) and Prateek Jain (2) at the crease. They ended the third day on 199/9.
At Kolkata: Bengal 318 vs Delhi 217/7 in 75 overs (Dhruv Shorey 65, Jonty Sidhu 49 batting, Hiten Dalal 40; Mukesh Kumar 3/74).
At Dharamshala: Mumbai 372/5 - No play on Day 3.
At New Delhi (Karnail Singh Stadium): Railways 182 all out (Avinash Yadav 62, Arindam Ghosh 59; Prateek Jain 5/38, Abhimanyu Mithun 4/51) vs Karnataka 199/9 (S Sharath 56 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 55; Amit Mishra 5/70, Himanshu Sangwan 3/47). Karnataka lead by 17 runs.
At Indore: Madhya Pradesh 230 and 160 (Naman Ojha 41; Yash Dayal 4/52, Ankit Rajpoot 3/48) lost to Uttar Pradesh 216 and 178/3 (Aryan Juyal 74 not out, Almas Shaukat 54; Kumar Kartikeya Singh 2/49) by seven wickets. UP 6 points, MP 0 points.
At Vadodara: Baroda 154 and 187 lost to Saurashtra 142 and 200/6 (Harvik Desai 49, Arpit Vasavada 48 not out; L Meriwala 2/35) by four wickets. Saurashtra 6 points, Baroda 0 points.