Kerala blew away home favourites Bengal by nine wickets and with a day to spare for their second successive win in the Ranji Trophy, consolidating the position atop the Elite Group B standings, in Kolkata, on Thursday.
Sandeep Warrier complemented opener Jalaj Saxena's first innings 143 with an impressive five for 33 in the second innings, and the Kerala pacer rattled the top four Bengal batsmen, including a well-set captain Manoj Tiwary (62), to set up the win.
Warrier was at his best during his second spell (7-2-10-2) in the post-lunch session, when he broke a 69-run third wicket stand between Tiwary and Sudeep Chatterjee (39).
He extracted reverse swing and cleaned up Tiwary with an incoming delivery before dismissing Chatterjee (39) in his next over. From thereon, it was just a matter of time as the last eight wickets managed to add just 69 runs to be bundled out for 184 in 56.5 overs.
Kerala knocked off the 41-run target in 11 overs to hand Bengal their first loss at the Eden Gardens since December 2014, when they succumbed to Karnataka by an identical margin.
Kerala had a golden chance to complete the win by 10 wickets, which would have given the visitors a bonus point, but Bengal denied that with pacer Mukesh Kumar cleaning up first innings hero and man of the match Saxena for 26.
Kerala settled for six points to lead the table with 13, while Bengal remained on six points.
Australia-bound India pacer Mohammed Shami's inclusion on a green top had bolstered Bengal but their batsmen failed to apply themselves and went on the backfoot after Kerala put them in after winning a good toss.
With this defeat, Bengal's hope for a qualifying suffered a big blow as tougher challenges lie ahead with three back-to-back away matches beginning with Tamil Nadu from November 28 to December 1.
They have two home matches left against Delhi and Punjab.
Kerala, who beat Andhra in the previous round, face Madhya Pradesh at home.
Karnataka take first innings lead over Mumbai
Belagavi: Hosts Karnataka gained an upper hand by taking the crucial first innings lead over Mumbai in their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match.
Karnataka bundled out Mumbai for a meagre 205 in reply to their own 400 to take a huge 195-run first innings lead at the KSCA Stadium.
At stumps on the penultimate day of the four-day game, Karnataka were 81 for 3 with first innings hero Krishnamurthy Siddharth (30 not out) and experienced Stuart Binny (2 not out) unbeaten at close.
Karnataka bowlers, led by medium pacer Ronit More, rose to the occasion against the depleted Mumbai line-up without mainstays Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer, who are on national duty.
More grabbed five for 52 to make regular inroads into the Mumbai batting line-up.
Apart from opener Jay Bista (70), other batsmen faltered as Mumbai conceded the lead.
Meanwhile, at Raipur, Railways managed to eke out a 30-run first innings lead against hosts Chhattisgarh.
At Nagpur, Baroda trailed hosts and reigning champions Vidarbha by 241 runs after they finished day 3 at 288 for 7 with Aditya Waghmode and Deepak Hooda slamming hundreds.
At Nadiad (Gujarat), Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah led from the front as his side managed to take a 25-run first innings lead. Shah remained unbeaten on 81.
At Belagavi: Karnataka 400 all out and 81/3 vs Mumbai 205 (Jay Bista 70, Ronit More 5-52).
At Raipur: Chhattisgarh 300 and 2/2 v Railways 330 (Mahesh Rawat 110, Pratham Singh 66, Pankaj Rao 5-72).
At Nadiad: Gujarat 324 and 187/1 (P K Panchal 124 not out, B H Merai 35 not out) v Saurashtra 349 (H Desai 82, Jaydev Shah 81 not out, S A Desai 3-93).
At Nagpur: Vidarbha 529/6 declared Baroda 288/7 (Aditya Waghmode 103, Deepak Hooda 100, Lalit Yadav 2-42).
Rajasthan continue fightback against Jharkhand
Ranchi: Rajasthan, who conceded the first innings lead to hosts Jharkhand, made a splendid comeback in their second essay in their Elite Group C Ranji Trophy match.
Rajasthan, who were bundled out for 100 in the first innings and conceded the lead, made up for the mistakes in the second outing, as they put on 379 on the board to leave Jharkhand with a challenging victory chase.
Jharkhand, bowled out for 152 in their first innings, were 24 for no loss at stumps on day three and required 304 more for an outright win on the final day.
Ashok Menaria, who hit a stroke-filled 125 off 325 balls, led Rajasthan's fight back in the second innings, while Rajesh Bishnoi Jr chipped in with a gritty 82 off 145-balls. Menaria hit 19 boundaries, while Bishnoi Jr smashed 13 fours as the duo frustrated the Jharkhand bowlers at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.
Rajasthan had resumed the day at 127 for 4 before Jharkhand were set a daunting 328-run target.
At Guwahati, Odisha ticked all the boxes to defeat hosts Assam by nine wickets.
Rajesh Mohanty emerged as the star bowler for Odisha as he picked up six wickets in the second essay. At Rohtak, Goa required another 255 runs for an outright victory against Haryana.
At Ranchi: Rajasthan 100 and 379 (Ashok Menaria 125; Rajesh Bishnoi Jr 82, Anukul Roy 4-97) vs Jharkhand 152 and 24 for no loss.
At Guwahati: Assam 121 and 132 (Sibsankar Roy 56, Rajesh Mohanty 6-55) vs Odisha 240 and 16 for 1. Odisha won by nine wickets.
At Rohtak: Haryana 276 and 185 (Pramod Chandila 122 not out, Krishna Das 5-41) vs Goa 177 and 30 for 2.
At Srinagar: Tripura 124 and 233 for 4 (Smit Patel 71 not out, Udiyan Ghosh 67, Waseem Raza 3-59) vs Jammu and Kashmir 442 all out.
At New Delhi (Palam): Services 260 and 35 for 1 vs Uttar Pradesh 535 for 9 declared (Rinku Singh 163 not out, Zeeshan Ansari 76, Divesh Gurdev Pathania 4-104).
Rana, Dalal keep Delhi afloat
Hyderabad: Delhi's hopes of taking the first-innings lead looked slim with Hyderabad reducing the visitors to 245 for six in an Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match here Thursday.
At stumps on the third and penultimate day, Delhi trailed the hosts by 215 runs with four lower-order batsmen to follow.
Hyderabad notched up 460 in their first innings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Hiten Dalal was the day's top-scorer with 93 off 180 balls while Nitish Rana, in his maiden season as Delhi skipper, contributed 82 off 179 deliveries.
While Dalal found the fence 14 times and cleared it once, Rana struck nine boundaries and a six.
Resuming the day on overnight 21 for no loss, Delhi suffered their first blow when debutant Sarthak Ranjan was bowled by centurion T Ravi Teja with the visitors two short of 50 at the end of the 15th over. Ranjan made 20 off 66 balls.
Vice-captain Dhruv Shorey fell cheaply for nine, but after that Delhi looked solid with the duo of Dalal and Rana adding 114 runs for the third wicket.
Slow left-arm spinner Tanay Thyagarajan, who finished the day with 3/41 in 21 overs, was quite impressive for a debutant and gave Hyderabad the much-needed breakthrough when he bowled Dalal.
Himmat Singh came and perished quickly and Rana, too, fell after sometime to leave Delhi in a spot of bother by the close of play.
Rain washes out Day 3 of TN vs Andhra match
Ongole: Rain played spoilsport washing out proceedings on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'B' match between Tamil Nadu and Andhra.
Play was called off at 3pm IST owing to a steady drizzle.
Tamil Nadu had reached 122 for 3 in 50 overs at stumps on day two in reply to Andhra's first innings score of 216. Only 140 runs were scored from around 60 overs of play on Wednesday before bad light intervened.
With an entire day's play being lost, chances of Tamil Nadu forcing an outright win look bleak. The visiting team will be aiming to obtain the first innings lead and three points. Tamil Nadu has two points from two games as the first innings was not completed in both games.
At Ongole: Andhra 216 all out in 89.5 overs (Girinath Reddy 86 not out, Jyothisaikrishna 58, M Mohammed 4 for 70) vs Tamil Nadu 122 for 3 in 50 overs (M Kaushik Gandhi 38).
At Indore: Punjab 293 and 127-1 in 30 overs (Abhishek Sharma 78) vs Madhya Pradesh 315 all out (Rajat Patidar 73, Naman Ojha 51, Yash Dubey 65 not out, Mayank Markande 4 for 70).
At Hyderabad: Hyderabad 460 all out (Tanmay Agarwal 120, T Ravi Teja 115 not out, Himalay Agarwal 66) vs Delhi 245 for 6 in 97 overs (Hiten Dalal 93, Nitish Rana 82).