In-form Sarfaraz Khan rescued Mumbai with an unbeaten double century, powering the visitors to a comfortable 372 for five after a top-order collapse on the opening day of their Group B Ranji Trophy game against Himachal Pradesh, in Dharamsala, on Monday.
The 22-year-old Sarfaraz, who had hit an unbeaten triple-hundred in the last game against Uttar Pradesh, took a listless HP attack to cleaners, hitting 32 fours and four sixes during his unbeaten 226-run knock.
Electing to bowl the picturesque HPCA stadium, the home pacers exploited the windy conditions, grabbing three quick wickets to leave Mumbai reeling at 16 for three.
Right-arm medium pacer Vaibhav Arora removed both the openers as he first trapped Jay Bista (12) and then cleaned bowled Bhupen Lalwani (1).
One-down Hardik Tamore (2) also fell cheaply after being trapped in front of the wicket by KD Singh.
Sarfaraz started the rescue act first by conjuring up a 55-run stand with 'crisis man' Siddhesh Lad (20), to steady Mumbai's ship.
Medium pacer Raghav Dhawan broke the partnership as he got the ball to move and it crashed into Lad's middle-stump. Mumbai took lunch at 118/4.
Lad's departure did not deter Sarfaraz from playing his shots as he found an able alley in Aditya Tare (62), who got a 'life' on 12 after surviving a caught-behind chance.
Post-lunch, Sarfaraz was on a roll as he completed his second successive hundred. He and Tare added 143-runs for the fifth wicket to take the game away from the hosts.
However, Raghav Dhawan got his second wicket after Tare nicked one to the first-slip only to be caught by Ankit Kalsi as Mumbai lost its fifth wicket on 214. They took tea at 260/5.
Sarfaraz and Shubham Ranjane (44 not out) then put an unbroken 158-run stand, before umpires drew stumps early owing to bad light after 75 overs.
It was Sarfaraz show once again as he will strive to reach his second successive triple hundred, a rare feat in any form of cricket.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 372/5 (Sarfaraz Khan 226 not out, Aditya Tare 62; Vaibhav Arora 2-28) v/s HP.
At New Delhi: (Karnail Singh Stadium): Railways 98/6 (Arindam Ghosh 32 not out; Prateek Jain 4-14, Abhimanyu Mithun 2-18) v/s Karnataka.
At Vadodara: Baroda 154 all out (Kedar Devdhar 52; Yusuf Pathan 34; Jaydev Unadkat 6-34; Prerak Mankad 3-17) v/s Saurashtra 114/6 (Harvik Desai 31, Avi Barot 26; L Meriwala 4-54; Atit Sheth 2-21) Saurshtra trailed by 0 runs.
At Indore: Madhya Pradesh 230 (Yash Dubey 70; Ajay Rohera 42; Saurabh Kumar 3-59; Ankit Rajpoot 3-74) v/s Uttar Pradesh 22/3. UP trailed by 208 runs.
Majumdar leads Bengal recovery with unbeaten 94 vs Delhi
Anustup Majumdar hit a unbeaten 94 under pressure to help Bengal reach 286 for five on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match against Delhi in Kolkata.
Majumdar, who looked in formidable form, had some anxious moments as he survived a run-out chance to remain unbeaten, alongside Shahbaz Ahmed (39 not out) at the end of day one.
The home team turned the game around in the second session as Majumdar found a fine ally in wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami (59).
Scoring above four runs per over, the duo stitched a 117-run fifth wicket stand to give Bengal the edge.
"The ball was doing everything in the first session. it was turning, bouncing... It was a different game after lunch. They had a big bonus but the bowlers did not do justice to the toss," Bengal coach Arun Lal said.
Put in to bat, Bengal's top three batsmen, including last match's triple centurion, Manoj Tiwary (7), got out inside lunch but senior batsman Majumdar led the recovery and put Delhi in the back foot in the next two sessions.
Brought in the seventh over, Simarjeet Singh gave the breakthrough in his third ball with Abhishek Raman (9) edging one behind following a sloppy display, before left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra (3/78) gave a twin blow including that of Tiwary.
Stepping out, the stand-in skipper Tiwary was deceived by the flight and turn as Bengal looked in real trouble at 72/3.
For Majumdar, who was dropped for first three matches this season, the situation was similar to that of their match against Hyderabad in the previous round when they were 60/3.
"As a middle-order batsman, you are familiar with such a scenario. The ball was seaming around but we lost some wickets cheaply. It was about seeing through it. It's good to have contributed and took the team up," Majumdar said.
Majumdar, who had made his debut ahead of Tiwary in the 2004-05 season, is now eyeing his first century since 2017-18.
"We will have to start from the scratch. We will have to see the new ball through. The right approach will be the key," added Majumdar, who is six runs shy of a century.
Lavishing praise on Majumdar, Lal said: "He's probably the most talented batsman in the team. He plays late, there's a lot of grace in his batting. He showed a lot of character otherwise we would have been 170 all out today."
Brief Scores: Bengal 286/5; 87 overs (Anustup Majumdar 94 batting, Shreevats Goswami 59, Koushik Ghosh 46; Vikas Mishra 3/78) vs Delhi.
At Ongole: Kerala 160 all out in 49.5 overs (Basil Thampi 42; Shoain Md Khan 5/62) vs Andhra 57 for 1 in 27 overs (Prasanth Kumar 17; Abhishek Mohan 1/11).
At Hyderabad: Hyderabad 171 all out in 56 overs (Kolla Sumanth 51; Rituraj Singh 3/30) vs Rajasthan 2/0 in 4 overs (Yash Kothari 2; Chama Milind 0/0)
At Surat: Vidarbha 142 all out in 49.3 overs (Aniruddha Choudhary 42; Siddarth Desai 4/40)
Bhatia hits 116, helps Chhattisgarh reach 270/4 against J&K
Skipper Harpreet Singh Bhatia hit a century to help Chhattisgarh reach 270 for four against Jammu and Kashmir on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group 'C' match in Jammu.
Bhatia, who scored a 196-ball 116, added 110 runs for the fourth wicket with Amandeep Khare (45 not out).
Electing to bat, the visiting side suffered an early setback when opener Rishabh Tiwari fell for a 14-ball duck, bowled by Aquib Nabi.
Jiwanjot Singh (42) and Abhimanyu Chauhan (51) added 65 runs for the second wicket to steady the ship before the latter was dismissed by Abid Mushtaq.
Jiwanjot was then involved in a 86-run partnership for the third wicket with Bhatia.
The two played some attractive shots with the captain in particular not sparing the loose balls bowled by the J&K bowlers.
Bhatia, who put the team in a comfortable position, however, fell in the 88th over to Parvez Rasool.
Brief scores: Chhattisgarh 270 for 4 in 90 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 116, Abhimanyu Chauhan 51) vs Jammu & Kashmir.
At Dehradun: Uttarkhand 109 all out in 42 overs (Tinu Kundu 3/49) vs Haryana 50 for 5 in 21 overs (Agrim Tiwari 4/10).
At Agartala: Tripura 121 all out in 38 overs (M B Murasingh 24; Manoj Ingale 6/34) vs Maharashtra 127 for 5 in 37 overs (Ankit Bawane 39 batting, SM Gugale 34, VV More 30 batting; Mura Singh 3/29).
At Cuttack: Odisha 215 for 3 in 87 overs (Shantanu Mishra 66, Anurag Sarangi 58, Govinda Poddar 54 batting) vs Assam.
At Delhi: Services 232 for 8 in 67 overs (Mohit Ahlawat 69, Pulkit Narang 38 batting, Rajat Paliwal 38; Rahul Shukla 6/76) vs Jharkhand.
Puducherry struggle after Vinay Kumar grabs six wickets
Puducherry found themselves on the mat at 37 for 4 after their veteran pacer R Vinay Kumar grabbed six wickets to bowl Chandigarh out for a paltry 134 in their top of the table Ranji Plate clash in Chandigarh.
Vinay Kumar triggered a Chandigarh middle-order collapse with twin blows in his successive overs en route to 6/32 as the hosts were dismissed after lunch inside 38 overs after they were sent in to bat.
In reply, the Plate leaders Puducherry were reeling at 37 for four, trailing by 97 runs at close on first day with Chandigarh new ball bowler Shresth Nirmohi returning with figures of 3/17.
Earlier, opener Arslan Khan top-scored for Chandigargh with a 65-ball 42 (8x4) before being dismissed by Ashith Rajiv, while Raman Bishnoi (41) also could not convert his start with Vinay Kumar wreaking havoc in post-lunch session.
From 125/3, Chandigarh lost their remaining wickets in six overs.
Brief Scores: At Chandigarh: Chandigarh 134 from 37.3 overs (Arslan Khan 42, Raman Bishnoi 41; Vinay Kumar 6/32, Sagar Udeshi 3/41) vs Puducherry.
At Povorim: Goa 376/2 from 90 overs (Sumiran Amonkar 160, Vaibhav Govekar 160) vs Arunchal Pradesh.
At Cuttack: Sikkim 169 from 55.3 overs (Rex Rajkumar 4/41, Thomas Moirangthem 3/20) and 1/1 from 2 overs. Manipur 91 from 25 overs (Ishwar Chaudhary 6/39, Iqbal Abdulla 3/30).
At Kolkata: Nagaland 243 from 83 overs (Sedezhalie Rupero 105 not out; G Lalbiakvela 5/55). Mizoram 8/0 from 5 overs.
At Patna: Bihar 208 from 66.1 overs (Ashutosh Aman 72; Aditya Singhania 4/59, Mark Ingty 3/17). Meghalaya 18/0 from 21 overs.