Dinesh Karthik followed up on his 92 in the first innings with a match-saving 103 not out in the second to help Tamil Nadu walk away with one point against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy Group A match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
The out-of-favour India wicketkeeper was rock-solid during his 128-ball knock (9x4), while opener K Bharath Shankar (58) and Baba Aparajith (68) made good contributions on an eased out Eden track as Tamil Nadu avoided an innings defeat after resuming the day 128 runs in arrears.
Kathik completed his 21st first class century with a boundary off Abhimanyu Easwaran as both the teams agreed to a draw after the first of the mandatory 75 overs, with Tamil Nadu 327 for five, under fading light on the fourth and final day.
Bengal logged three points on basis of their first innings lead but it was of little help as they remain at the bottom with seven points.
The home team had a brilliant opportunity to secure an outright victory after Sourav Sarkar dismissed nightwatchman R Aushik Srinivias in the sixth over of the day with addition of two runs to the overnight score of 82.
At that point the visitors still required 126 runs to avoid an first innings defeat but opener Bharath Shankar and Aparajith showed positive intent.
Shankar was bowled by Shukla after completing his half century but Karthik ensured that there was no further damage and stitched 103 runs in a crucial fourth-wicket partnership with Aparajith.
Dinda (2/81) dismissed Aparajith before the tea break but there was little on offer from the track and Tamil Nadu batted patiently with Karthik playing the sheet-anchor role.
Bengal used as many as nine bowlers, including wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami.
Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla credited the Tamil Nadu batsmen for securing a draw.
"Overall, I'm happy with my bowlers' show and three points. We still have four matches to go and we're still positive (of making the quarters)," Shukla said.
The captain sustained a groin injury and was out of the field in the second session but said there's nothing to "worry" about.
Tamil Nadu: 246/9 and 327/5 in 96 overs (Dinesh Karthik 103 not out, Baba Aparajith 68, K Bharath Shankar 58)
Bengal: 454/9 declared.
Points: Bengal 3, TN 1.
Baroda register convincing 10-wkt win over UP
Left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh registered his best bowling figures as Baroda registered a convincing 10-wicket win over Uttar Pradesh in a Group A match in Lucknow.
Swapnil scalped six wickets for 91 runs to help Baroda bundle out UP for 307 in 87.2 overs in their second innings and set a target of 33 runs for the visitors to chase.
Resuming their second innings at the overnight score of 122 for three after being enforced follow-on, Umang Sharma (62), skipper Piyush Chawla (57), Arish Alam (48) and wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi made useful contributions with the bat but it was not enough for the hosts to save the match.
Swapnil spun the web around the UP batsmen to single-handedly rattle the home team's innings. He was ably supported by Irfan Pathan (1/31), Bharghav Bhatt(1/38), Munaf Patel (1/28) and Deepak Hooda (1/3).
Baroda then chased down the paltry target in 5.4 overs, with opener Saurabh Wakaskar (24 not out) scoring bulk of the runs, while his partner Kedar Devdhar remained unbeaten on 6.
By virtue of the commanding win, Baroda pocketed seven points from the match while UP returned empty-handed.
Baroda: 498 & 33 for no loss in 5.4 overs (Saurabh Wakaskar 24 not out).
UP: 223 & 307 all out in 87.2 overs (Umang Sharma 62, Piyush Chawla 57; Swapnil Singh 6/91).
MP gain three points from draw against Mumbai
Young Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer notched his second century in as many Ranji Trophy matches, slamming an unbeaten 142 in the second innings against Madhya Pradesh in a Group A match that ended in a draw at the Wankhede stadium.
Iyer, who scored 153 in the first innings of the 40-time champions' previous game against Bengal, was given a reprieve by MP when on 10 and he took full advantage of the largesse to remain unconquered after hitting 15 fours and two sixes.
The match was called off when the hosts were 311 for four.
At the other end was teenager Sarfaraz Khan, with an unbeaten 52 after adding 106 runs for the fifth wicket with Iyer, who faced 181 balls and batted for 258 minutes.
MP, who took a handy 134-run lead yesterday by scoring 538 for seven in reply to the hosts' 404 all out, declared on Thursday morning at the overnight score to try and beat the former champions outright but failed in their ploy.
Had 20-year-old Iyer been caught at gully by Ankit Sharma off Avesh Khan when Mumbai were on 42 for one, the visitors could have put some pressure on the home team, but the chance was grassed. The centurion Iyer and opener Aditya Tare (57) took the team's score past the 100-run mark with a second wicket stand of 89 runs.
Tare and skipper Suryakumar Yadav (1), who hit a ton in Mumbai's first innings, departed in quick succession on either side of lunch to raise MP's hopes of victory.
But Iyer and Siddesh Lad (43) dashed their hopes with a stand of 95 for the fourth wicket.
For MP, medium pacer Puneet Datey was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 43 in 13 overs.
MP had to be content with three points from the game that took their overall tally to eight from five games, while Mumbai secured one point from the draw to increase their tally to 11.
Mumbai: 404 and 311 for four in 76 overs (Shreyas Iyer 142 not out, Aditya Tare 57, Sarfaraz Khan 52 not out; Puneet Datey 3/43).
Madhya Pradesh: 538 for 7 declared
Points: MP 3; Mumbai 1.
Darekar guides Maharashtra to innings win
Left-arm orthodox bowler Akshay Darekar claimed an impressive 10-wicket haul in the game, including seven in the second innings, to guide Maharashtra to an easy innings and 48 runs victory over Saurashtra in a Group B match in Rajkot.
Darekar, who picked three wickets in the first innings, returned figures of seven for 72 to single-handedly demolish Sauratshtra in their second essay.
After amassing a mammoth 519 in their first innings, Maharashtra bowled out Saurashtra for 273 to enforce the follow-on.
But Saurashtra's batting crumbled in the second innings and they were eventually bowled out for meagre 198 in 87.4 overs.
Saurashtra were already in trouble in their second innings after Maharashtra’s bowlers reduced the hosts to 53 for four at stumps on Wednesday.
It needed a Herculean effort from the remaining six Saurashtra batsmen to save the match, which never came.
Arpit Vasavada showed some resistance with a patient 76 off 188 balls, while Sheldon Jackson made a strokeful 42. But their efforts were too little too late to save the match.
Besides Darekar, Swapnil Gugale (1/2) and Chirag Khurana (1/92) picked a wicket each.
The victory gave Maharashtra seven points, including bonus, from the match.
Maharashtra: 519 all out in 150.5 overs
Saurashtra: 273 & 198 all out in 87.4 overs (Arpit Vasavada 76; Akshay Darekar 7/72).
Hyderabad clinch easy win over Tripura
Hyderabad romped to a facile nine-wicket triumph over Tripura after the home team's batting collapsed on Thursday and left the visitors with a meagre 45-run target in their Group C match in Agartala.
Overnight 240 for four, Tripura collapsed to 351, leaving Hyderabad with a target of 45 to chase.
The visitors reached the target in 6.5 overs, with openers Tanmay Agarwal (21) and Akshath Reddy (27) doing the job.
For Tripure, Rakesh Solanki was the top-scorer, with 85 runs.
Tripura: 184 & 351
Hyderabad: 491/9d & 48/1 in 6.5 overs.
Andhra too good for Jharkhand
Chasing a paltry target of 47, Andhra Pradesh registered a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Jharkhand in their Group C match in Vizianagaram.
Overnight 10 for no loss, Andhra lost Srikar Bharat (25) to pacer Ashish Kumar before romping home.
Andhra are now third on the points’ table after notching their second victory in four matches. Their other two matches had ended in draws.
This was Jharkhand's first defeat of the season after drawing three back-to-back games.
Jharkhand: 246 & 104
Andhra Pradesh: 304 & 47/1 in 11 overs (Srikar Bharat 25, Ashish Kumar 1/28).
Rajasthan thrash Punjab
Fine bowling by skipper Pankaj Singh (4/57) and Aniket Choudhary (4/52) helped Rajasthan thrash Punjab by nine wickets in their Group B match at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur.
Rajasthan, who amassed 433 after being put in to bat, bundled out the visitors for 275 in their first innings and then enforced the follow-on.
While following-on, Punjab once again faltered and were all out for a mere 247, thereby setting the home team a modest target of 89.
Pranay Sharma (33), Vineet Saxena (27 not out) and Robin Bisht (22 not out) took Rajasthan to 93 for 1 in 25.4 overs for a comfortable victory on the fourth and final day of the match.
Earlier, resuming at an overnight score of 85 for three in their second essay while following-on, Punjab failed to put up any resistance.
Rajasthan’s bowlers dealt crucial blows at regular intervals and despite Gitansh Khera (42), Siddarth Kaul (36) and India discard Yuvraj Singh (35) putting up some fight, the visitors failed to sustain for long.
Pankaj finished with match figures of seven for 140, while up-and-coming left-arm seamer Aniket Choudhary, who was coming in after an injury, ended up with match figures of eight for 109.
Rajasthan: 433 & 93 for 1 in 25.4 overs (Pranay Sharma 33, Vineet Saxena 27 not out, Robin Bisht 22 not out).
Punjab: 274 & 247 all out in 81.2 overs (Gitansh Khera 42, Siddarth Kaul 36, Yuvraj Singh 35; Pankaj Singh 4/57, Aniket Choudhary 4/52).
Points: Rajasthan 6, Punjab 0.
Delhi settle for three points after no play on final day
Delhi had to settle for three points and a draw against Haryana after not a single ball was bowled on the fourth and final day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match as dense fog engulfed the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Lahli.
Delhi were to begin the day at 134 for five, after a 224-run lead already in the bag. While only 38 overs were bowled on Wednesday, no play was possible on Thursday.
The visitors would have fancied their chances of a win after bowling out Haryana for 188 on a lively Lahli wicket.
Despite the draw, Delhi remain on top of the group standings with 23 points courtesy three wins from four games.
Haryana, with a solitary point from their home game, have 10 points from four matches.
Besides the weather, the game will also be remembered for Virender Sehwag's second consecutive century of the season. His 147 off 181 balls came after a 105 against Gujarat at home.
Delhi: 278 & 134/5 in 41 overs (Gautam Gambhir 46, Shivam Sharma 25; Joginder Sharma 3/18, Kuldeep Hooda 2/22).
Haryana: 188 all out
Points: Delhi 3, Haryana 1.