A round-up of Ranji matches played on Wednesday
Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran cracked a second successive innings century as he along with skipper Manoj Tiwary led Bengal's strong fightback against Punjab in their do-or-die Ranji Trophy Elite Group B clash, in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old opener was unbeaten on 100, his third of the season and 10th overall, while Tiwary returned to form with an elegant 90 not out as the duo stitched an unbroken 180 runs partnership to revive their hopes.
Bengal conceded a huge 260 runs first innings lead, thanks to an 83-run last wicket partnership between Manpreet Gony (69 not out) and Siddharth Kaul (nine). Gony smashed five sixes and six boundaries en route to his knock from 67 balls.
The hosts were 218 for 2 at stumps on the penultimate day, still trailing by 42 runs as anything could be possible on the final day.
Bengal had a shaky start to their second essay losing opener Abhishek Raman (7) and Sudip Chatterjee (18) inside 15 overs.
But, Abhimanyu and Tiwary looked at ease and rebuilt the innings in the second session.
The Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus wicket looked a complete batting paradise and the Bengal duo made full use of it, striking all around the ground.
Siddarth Kaul tried bowling short-pitch stuff to Tiwary but the Bengal skipper looked in his element and counter-attacked the Punjab pacer en route his sublime half-century from 80 balls.
Earlier resuming the day on 357/7, Punjab lost their first wicket in the fifth ball of the day when Mukesh Kumar (5/114) cleaned up Vinay Chaudhary en route to his second five-wicket haul.
In the next over, Bengal pace spearhead Ashok Dinda (1/83) dismissed overnight centurion Anmolpreet Singh who managed to add two runs to his total to depart for 126.
But Gony propped up the total from 363/9 with his quickfire innings.
Bengal mentor Arun Lal criticised Punjab and said they have "killed the game" as they continued batting despite an overnight lead of 170 runs.
"They killed the match. They were 170 runs ahead on second day, they should have declared and got us out. So that we can play something to score for. But they dilly-dallied this morning," Lal's defence sounded more like an excuse for the failure of his spinners Amir Gani, Pradipto Pramanik and Writtick Chatterjee.
He went on to lavish praise on Abhimanyu and Tiwary and said: "They thought we will fall down and die. Now see our reply. If you kill the game for us, we will try our hardest to kill the game for you."
Punjab top-scorer Anmolpreet however said the game is still result-oriented.
"If they set a target we will go for it. It's still a result-oriented game. I think one team will bag six points definitely," Anmolpreet said.
Brief Scores: Bengal 187 and 218/2; 58 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 100 batting, Manoj Tiwary 90 batting). Punjab 447; 131.3 overs (Anmolpreet Singh 126, Shubman Gill 91, Manpreet Gony 69 not out, Mandeep Singh 44, Gitansh Khera 42; Mukesh Kumar 5/114, Pradipta Pramanik 4/108).
Saurashtra poised for lead while Mumbai score first win
Hosts Saurashtra held the upper hand after they reduced Vidarbha to 280 for 9 on the third day of the Elite Group A Ranji Trophy game in Rajkot on Wednesday.
And it was Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat who led from the front grabbing six wickets conceding 56 runs at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot. The hosts had posted 356 in their first innings and are still 76 runs ahead and well on course to take the crucial first innings lead.
For defending champions Vidarbha, who resumed at their overnight score of 63 for 2, veteran Wasim Jaffer stood out with his 98-run knock. Jaffer in his 225-ball stay at the crease, stuck eight fours and a six.
But Saurashtra hit at right intervals as they roared back into the game, which was drifting away due to Jaffer's knock.
After Jaffer departed, Vidarbha's lower middle order batsman Mohit Kale (66) played a crucial knock. Even Akshay Wakhare (22) and Suniket Bingewar (30) got starts but they failed to convert.
Vidarbha's no 10 Aditya Thakare (3) and no 11 Yash Thakur (0) were holding fort at stumps.
Meanwhile, 41-time champions Mumbai, who are already out of quarter final reckoning, defeated Chhattisgarh by 9 wickets to record their first outright win of the season at the Wankhede Stadium.
The win meant that the multiple Ranji champions avoided relegation to a lower Group. Chasing the 91-run target, Mumbai resumed from their overnight score of 77 for no loss and hit off the required 14
runs in the morning. But they lost their opener Vikrant Auti (34) when the team score was 79.
The other opener Jay Bista (49 not out) then completed the proceedings in 24.2 overs along with Yashasvi Jaiswal (0 not out) at the other end. Mumbai had bowled out Chhattisgarh for 129 in the first innings and then had scored 188 in their first essay to take the lead.
The hosts then bundled out the opposition for 149 in the second innings to lay the foundation of the consolation win.
Pacer Tushar Deshpande, who ended the game with nine wickets, was adjudged as the Man of the Match.
Brief Scores: At Mumbai: Chattisgarh 129 and 149 lost to Mumbai 188 and 92/1 (Jay Bista 49 not out, Vikrant Auti 34, Pankaj Rao 1-20) by 9 wickets. Mumbai 6 points, Chattisgarh 0 points.
At Rajkot: Saurashtra 356 versus Vidarbha 280 for 9 (Wasin Jaffer 98, Mohit Kale 66, Jaydev Unadkat 6-56, Chetan Sakariya 2-72).
Jonty Sidhu's defiant ton keeps Delhi in the hunt vs TN
Jonty Sidhu's fighting ton helped Delhi reach 268 for 6 in 103 overs at stumps against Tamil Nadu on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'B' match at the M A Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu had made 432 in the first innings, riding on Abhinav Mukund's solid knock of 134. Sidhu's unbeaten 104 (235 balls) helped the team recover from 49 for 4 in Delhi's first innings. His 126-run seventh wicket partnership with Lalit Yadav (65 batting) went a long way in blunting the Tamil Nadu attack.
The lanky left-hander mixed caution with aggression and used his feet to counter the Tamil Nadu spinners-R Sai Kishore and Mohan Prasath.
Apart from 11 fours, Jonty Sidhu also hit three huge sixes and defended resolutely against the home side attack which was looking to wrap up the innings quickly after being top in the first session.
Earlier in the morning, the visitors suffered two quick blows, losing Dhruv Shorey and skipper Nitish Rana in the space of two runs. Shorey was caught and bowled by Mohan Prasath to give the debutant his maiden wicket while Rana's airy drive off M Mohammed was snapped up captain B Indrajith at mid-off.
With the team in a spot of bother, Himmat Singh (39, 94 balls, 3X4) was joined by Sidhu and the duo added 78 runs to frustrate the TN bowlers.
Himmat became Sai Kishore's second scalp, being trapped LBW. Anuj Rawat didn't last too long, falling leg-before wicket to Baba Aparajith. Sidhu and Lalit Yadav came to Delhi's rescue and increased the chances of securing a draw.
Meanwhile in Indore, Andhra Pradesh recorded a 307-run win as Madhya Pradesh imploded rather spectacularly on the third day, slipping from 35 for 3 to 35 all out (one batsman was absent hurt), losing six wickets while not scoring a run.
Right-arm medium-pacer K V Sasikanth (6 for 18) and D P Vijayakumar (3 for 17) wreaked havoc as the MP batting line-up folded in just 16.5 overs, chasing 342 for a win. Sasikanth took three wickets in his eighth over and missed out on a hat-trick as Ishwar Pandey survived, only to be bowled off the next delivery.
The win lifted Andhra to 17 points and sixth position in Group 'B' while Madhya Pradesh's capitulation puts its chances of qualification to the last eight in jeopardy.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 432 all out in 164.4 overs (Abhinav Mukund 134, Vikas Mishra 5 for 142) vs Delhi 268 for 6 in 103 overs (Jonty Sidhu 104 batting, Lalit Yadav 65 batting).
At Indore: Andhra 132 and 301 all out in 101.1 overs (Karan Shinde 103 not out, C Gnaneshwar 43, D B Prahanth Kumar 44, Ishwar Pandey 3 for 55) beat Madhya Pradesh 91 all out in
35.5 overs (Girinath Reddy 6 for 29) and 35 all out in 16.5 overs (K V Sasikanth 6 for 18) by 307 runs. Points: Andhra: 6, MP: 0.
At Amtar: Himachal 297 all out in 96.1 overs (A R Kalsi 101, Rishi Dhawan 58, M D Nidheesh 6 for 88) and 285 for 8 in 52.1 overs (Rishi Dhawan 85, A R Kalsi 64, Sijomon Joseph 4 for 51) vs Kerala 286 all out in 87 overs (P Rahul 127, Sanju Samson 50, Mohammed Azharudeen 40, Arpit N Guleria 5 for 47).
Bihar spinner Aman breaks Bedi's record; Uttarakhand qualify
Bihar left-arm spinner Ashutosh Aman etched his name in record books, surpassing the great Bishan Singh Bedi as the highest wicket-taker in a Ranji Trophy season after claiming his 65th scalp in Patna.
Bihar defeated Manipur by three wickets, while Uttarakhand sealed the lone quarterfinal spot from the Plate Group with a bonus point win over Mizoram in the Plate Group.
The 32-year-old Aman achieved the feat when he trapped Manipur's Sagatpam Singh lbw for his 65th wicket and eclipsed former India captain Bedi's tally of 64 wickets for Delhi in 1974-75.
An employee of Indian Air Force, Aman, ended up with 7/71 against Manipur in the second innings to end the season with 68 wickets from 14 innings at an average of 6.48.
Resuming the day at 217/7 in their second innings and with a lead of 116, Manipur were bundled out for 238, with Aman claiming all the three wickets at the Moin-ul-Haq Stadium.
Chasing 138, Bihar were tottering at 43/5 before Mangal Mehrur (53) led a solid fightback while Aman remained unbeaten on 22 to seal a tense three-wicket chase.
Needing just a win to edge out Bihar, Uttarakhand secured a massive innings and 56 run-win over Mizoram at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun.
Uttarakhand topped the table with 44 points with Bihar finishing second with 40 points.
Resuming the day for 32/1 following on, Mizoram could only manage 123 runs in reply to Uttarakhand's 377 with Rajat Bhatia claiming 4/17.
Taruwar Kohli waged the lone battle for Mizoram with a valiant 68 in the second essay to go with his 96 in the first innings and was adjudged man-of-the-match.
For Uttarakhand, Mayank Mishra took 3/29 while Sunny Rana claimed 2/14.
Uttarakhand will be taking on the combined table-topper from Group A and B.
Brief Scores: In Dehradun: Uttarakhand 377. Mizoram 198 and following-on 123; 59 overs (Taruwar Kohli 68; Rajat Bhatia 4/17, Mayank Mishra 3/29). Uttarakhand won by an innings and 56 runs. Points: Uttarakhand 7, Mizoram 0.
In Dimapur: Nagaland 467 and 185/5; 55 overs (HH Zhimomi 49 batting, Arbar Kazi 42 batting). Puducherry 286; 98.2 overs (Paras Dogra 144, Sai Karthik 81; Arbar Kazi 4/62, Imliwati Lemtur 3/57).
In Goalpara: Arunachal Pradesh 169 and 109; 45.3 overs (Kshitiz Sharma 31, Techi Neri 23 not out; Ishwar Chaudhary 7/51). Sikkim 262 and 19 for no loss; 1.3 overs. Sikkim won by 10 wickets. Points: Sikkim 7, Arunchal Pradesh 0.
In Patna: Manipur 156 and 238; 70.4 overs (Yashpal Singh 105, Priyojit Singh 64; Ashutosh Aman 7/71, Samar Quadri 3/93). Bihar 257 and 140/7; 25.1 overs (Mangal Mehrur 53, Vikash Ranjan 39, Ashutosh Aman 22 not out). Bihar won by three wickets. Points: Bihar 6. Manipur 0.