Defending champions Mumbai look firm favourites to record their second outright victory against Punjab in a group A league match of the Ranji Trophy in Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Chasing a tough victory target of 399, Punjab were tottering at 108 for four at stumps on the third day with Test discard Yuvraj Singh unbeaten on 19 in company of Uday Kaul, who is yet to open his account.
Punjab require 291 runs on the fourth and final day with six wickets in hand.
Veteran pacer Zaheer Khan (two for 24) gave a good account of himself in a short eight-over burst in which he removed openers Jiwanjot Singh (31) and Ravi Inder Singh (19).
While Jiwanjot nicked an away-going delivery to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, Ravi Inder got one that held its line and went past his defence. The other two wickets were taken by left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar (2/41), who opened the bowling with pacer Javed Khan.
Earlier, starting the day on 35 for no loss, Mumbai scored 271 in 64.4 overs largely due to 61-ball 62 from middle-order batsman Surya Kumar Yadav, who struck nine
Pacer Javed smashed a quickfire 30-ball 44 which helped Mumbai set a target close to 400. Javed and Vishal added 45 runs for the final wicket which propped up the team total. Javed struck three big sixes apart from three boundaries.
For Punjab, left-arm spinner Rajiwnder Singh Golu took five for 102 while skipper Harbhajan Singh grabbed four for 67 as he returned with a match-haul of eight wickets after having taken nine in Punjab's first match.
Harbhajan now has taken 17 wickets in four completed innings followed by Mumbai's Dabholkar with 13 scalps. The left-arm spinner will get a chance to pick a few more when Mumbai bowl on the final day of the match, on Sunday.
Mumbai: 282 and 271 (Surya Kumar Yadav 62, Javed Khan 44, Rajiwnder Singh Golu 5/102, Harbhajan Singh 4/67).
Punjab: 155 and 108/4 (Yuvraj Singh 19 not out, Zaheer Khan 2/24).
UP in sight of outright win against Baroda
Opener Tanmay Srivastava made an unbeaten century before spearhead R P Singh struck twice at the fag end to put Uttar Pradesh in sight of an outright win against Baroda in their Group B Ranji Trophy match in Vadodara, on Saturday.
Chasing a stiff target of 369, Baroda, in their second innings, were reeling at five for two at stumps on the third day.
Before R P got into the act with two quick wickets late into the day's play, Srivastava laid the foundation by remaining unbeaten on 124, and he was well supported by skipper Suresh Raina (65) and Mukul Dagar (63).
Srivastava hit 14 boundaries and a six while facing 224 balls at the Moti Bagh Stadium, which also saw Raina scoring a century in UP's first innings.
Starting their second innings with a crucial 74-run lead behind them, the visitors started on a confident note, with the openers adding 111 runs for the first wicket to put their
team in a strong position.
Mohammad Kaif did not last long but Raina along with Srivastava forged another century partnership to virtually knock Baroda out of the contest.
Raina struck seven fours while Dagar found the fence nine times.
After UP declared their innings at 294 for six, senior pacer R P, who grabbed fours wickets on Day 2, once again made life difficult for the hosts dealing them two quick blows
in the form of Saurabh Wakaskar and Aditya Waghmode.
Akshar grabs six to give Gujarat slender lead against Delhi
A formidable Delhi side conceded a 25-run first innings lead to Gujarat before reducing the hosts to 89 for four in the second innings at stumps on the third day of their group A Ranji Trophy encounter at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat.
Gujarat have an overall lead of 114 runs with six wickets in hand and day's play left to atleast go home with three points.
In reply to Gujarat's first innings score of 320, Delhi were bowled out for 295 despite a fighting knock of 104 by Mithun Manhas and steady 64 by left-handed Manan Sharma.
Veteran Ashish Nehra provided some resistance with a gritty 37 down the order but eventually ran out of partners with left-arm spinner Akshar Patel grabbing career-best
figures of six for 55. Offie Jesal Karia (3/43) gave him good support having picked up the prized scalp of Virender Sehwag on the second day.
Delhi started the day at 195 for four but lost Manan in the fourth over of the day as Akshar breached through his defences. His partnership with Manhas produced 153 runs to rescue Delhi.
Manan, son of former India cricketer Ajay Sharma, faced 136 balls hitting 10 fours and a six.
On the otherhand, Manhas reached his 23rd first-class hundred before padding up an arm-ball from left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv.
With Sumit Narwal also dismissed cheaply, Delhi were reduced to 242 for seven before Nehra and Rajat Bhatia (23) joined hands to add 37 runs for the eighth wicket. The gutsy Bhatia was adjudged plumb in-front off an Akshar delivery.
In his desperate bid, Nehra hit a few boundaries before offering a return catch to Karia.
In the second innings, Delhi bowlers came out all guns blazing reducing Gijarat to 47 for four before the two Patels -- opener Smit (23 batting) and skipper Parthiv (28 batting)
stemmed the rot with an unbroken 42-run fifth wicket stand.
Gujarat: 320 and 89/4 (Parthiv Patel 28 batting, Sumit Narwal 2/15)
Delhi: 295 (Mithun Manhas 104, Manan Sharma 64, Akshar Patel 6/55).
Tamil Nadu hold edge against struggling MP
Tamil Nadu held the upper hand as they left Madhya Pradesh struggling at 221 for seven after declaring their first innings at a mammoth 532 for eight in their Group B Ranji Trophy match in Indore.
The experienced Devendra Bundela, leading the side, seemed to be waging a lone battle as he remained unbeaten on 64 at stumps on Day 3.
Naman Ojha was dismissed after making 41 while three other batsmen got out in their 20s at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Bundela hit eight fours and two sixes while Ojha
struck six boundaries and a six.
Giving Bundela company at stumps was Anand Rajan, who was batting on 29 off 91 balls.
For Tamil Nadu, left-arm spinner R Aushik Srinivas emerged as the day's best bowler, returning impressive figures of three for 38. Veteran Laxmipathy Balaji had two wickets to his name while there was one for Sunil Sam.
Tamil Nadu declared their innings at the start of the day's play, with Subramaniam Badrinath scoring a monumental 248.
Baba Aparajith made 118 as Tamil Nadu put up a huge score to ensure themselves of at least the first-innings lead if not an outright win.
Wriddhiman's fifty gives Bengal lead
An useful half-century by Wriddhiman Saha enabled Bengal to get a crucial 82-run first innings lead against hosts Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy Group B league encounter at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
In reply to Rajasthan's first innings score of 244, Bengal posted 326, courtesy of 78 from their wicketkeeper-batsman and young Sandipan Das's 43 which helped them take the vital first innings lead.
At stumps on Day 3, Rajasthan were 62 for one in their second innings with another 21 runs required to erase the deficit.
A draw would ensure three points for Bengal, who managed only single point after their opening encounter with Baroda was abandoned without a single ball being bowled because of rain.
Starting the day on 172 for three, Wriddhiman and Subhomoy Das (21) added exactly 50 runs for the fourth wicket before Das was trapped leg-before by left-arm seamer Aniket Chaudhary (5/93). Within another six runs, skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1) was removed by Chaudhary as he was caught by Rajasthan skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
At 227 for six with 18 runs to take lead, Wriddhiman and Sandipan coolly took Bengal past magic figure of 244.
Wriddhiman hit 10 fours in his 159-ball knock while Sandipan struck seven boundaries. They added 55 runs for the sixth wicket before he was bowled by veteran pacer Pankaj Singh (4/87).
Sandipan was unfortunately dismissed hit-wicket to become Chaudhary's fifth victim of the innings. All-rounder Sourashis Lahiri (24) hit a few lusty blows as Bengal crossed 325-run mark.
In the second innings, debutant pacer Manojit Ghosh struck early as he cleaned up opener Saurabh Chouhan (13) but in-form Vineet Saxena (28 not out) and Robin Bist (19 not out) batted confidently for the next 28 overs.
Rajasthan: 244 and 62/1 (Vineet Saxena 28 not out, Manojit Ghosh 1/29)
Bengal: 326 (Wriddhiman Saha 78, Rohan Banerjee 77, Sandipan Das 43, Aniket Chaudhary 5/93).
Batsmen help Karnataka take lead against Jharkhand
Mayank Agarwal missed out on a century on his debut but Karnataka produced a splendid batting effort to take a vital 60-run first innings against Jharkhand in their Ranji Trophy Group A match in Mysore.
Opener Mayank, who was 63 overnight, scored 90 runs before being castled by paceman Rahul Shukla.
However, the foundation laid by him was well capitalised by other batsmen as Manish Pandey (52), C M Gautam (42), Ganesh Satish (63) and R Vinay Kumar (55 not out) all batted in superb fashion.
The hosts declared their innings 424 for seven in reply to Jharkhand's first innings total of 364. The visitors safely batted the six overs to reach four for no loss in their second innings at stumps on the third day at the Gangotri Glades.
Mayank smashed 12 boundaries and a six in 144 balls he faced. He put on a crucial 99-run partnership for the second wicket with fellow overnight Kunal Kapoor (49).
Kapoor was scalped by slow left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem, followed by Mayank's wicket a few overs later.
Pandey (52) and Gautam (42) steadied the innings by putting on a 69-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Shukla struck two quick blows, sending Gautam and all-rounder Stuart Binny (2), leaving Karnataka reeling at 249 for five.
But Pandey and Ganesh Satish came to the hosts' rescue with a vital 65-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Pandey was caught by SS Quadri off the bowling off pace bowler Varun Aaron.
However, Ganesh (63) continued to play well and found able companion in captain Vinay Kumar to take the hosts to 372, before he was caught by Ishank Jaggi off Nadeem.
Soon after Vinay completed his half-century and had Abhimanyu Mithun (30 not out) at the crease, Karnataka declared the innings.
Andhra's batsmen frustrate Kerala
Andhra's batsmen fired in unison to guide their team to 288 for three in reply to Kerala's first innings total of 486 at stumps on the penultimate day of their Group C Ranji Trophy match.
Opener Srikar Bharat (62), Murumulla Sriram (82 not out) and Bodapati Sumanth (90) struck fine half-centuries against a listless Kerala bowling attack at the Conor Vayal Stadium, in Tellicherry.
Sriram and Amol Muzumdar were at the crease with Andhra still needing 198 runs on the fourth and final day on Sunday to surpass Kerala's first innings total.
Starting the day at 42 for no loss, opener Prasanth Kumar could add only 12 runs to his overnight score before being run-out by Sandeep Warrier for 22.
Bharat too departed after completing his half-century, caught by Sanju Samson off Prasanth Parameswaran. Bharat's attacking 101-ball knock was laced with six fours and three sixes.
At 97 for two, Sumanth joined Sriram in the middle and both played patiently to deny Kerala bowlers any further success. The duo added 172 runs for the third-wicket partnership and, in the process, also completed their respective half-centuries.
Sumanth was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century by just 10 runs when he was caught by Rohan Prem off Chovvakkaran Shahid for 90. He struck 10 fours in his 216-ball stay at the crease.
Sriram's unbeaten 82 was studded with five fours.
Kerala 1st innings: 486 all out in 163 overs.
Andhra 1st innings: 288 for 3 in 105 overs (Bodapati Sumanth 90, Murumulla Sriram 82 not out; Prasanth Parameswaran 1/42).
Haryana-Vidarbha match set for tight finish
Jayant Yadav's five-wicket haul helped Haryana take the crucial first innings lead before Vidarbha fought back to leave their Ranji Trophy Group B match evenly poised after the third and penultimate day in Nagpur.
Haryana dismissed Vidarbha for 287 but were themselves reduced to 29 for two in their second innings when stumps were drawn for the day.
Resuming on their overnight score of 94 for three, half centuries by Hemang Badani (65) and Rashmi Parida (60) steered Vidarbha from the precarious position. Shrikant Wagh also chipped in with 40 valuable runs to help the home team's cause.
Badani, who was overnight 35, struck eight fours in all in his 128-ball knock. Parida also struck a similar number of fours during his 147-ball stay at the crease.
But in the absence of any other noteworthy contribution, Vidarbha ended up conceding a crucial 42-run first innings lead which would help Haryana in the points table in case of a draw.
Jayant Yadav was the star for Haryana with his five scalps, three of which he pulled off on Day 2. The off-spinner's 32 overs, five of them maiden, cost just 77 runs.
Haryana's second innings began on a disappointing note as they lost both their openers with just 18 runs on the scoreboard.
While Abhimanyu Khod was trapped leg before wicket by Wagh without contributing a single run, Nitin Saini fell to Sumit Ruikar after making just 7 runs off 22 deliveries.
Sunny Singh (15) and Harshal Patel (6) were holding fort for Haryana at close of play.
Vidarbha: 287 all out in 112.5 overs (Hemang Badani 65, Rashmi Parida 60, Jayant Yadav 5/77)
Haryana: 329 and 29/2 in 10 overs.
Image: Zaheer Khan