On a day when he was dropped from the BCCI's graded retainership, Yuvraj Singh came to his own as he blasted Maharashtra attack into submission with an attractive 136 to guide Punjab to a commanding position in a Ranji Trophy cricket match in Pune.
The veteran India discard hit 25 boundaries and a huge six en-route his 22nd first-class hundred as Punjab finished second day at 370 for eight, with a healthy first innings lead of 160 runs. Last year's runners-up Maharashtra scored 210 in their first innings.
Yuvraj was severe on seamers Anupam Sanklecha (3/75) and Shrikant Mundhe (1/112). Left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar (1/57) got the prized scalp but not before getting a bit of stick as 106 off his 136 runs came in boundaries and sixes. It came in 26 scoring strokes.
He added 112 runs for the fifth wicket with Gurkeerat Singh Mann (57). Prior to that, another 112 run stand for the fourth wicket, with opener Jiwanjot Singh (68).
Yuvraj was finally caught by Vijay Zol off Darekar but Punjab's lead by then had reached 88.
Skipper Harbhajan Singh (31) then used the long-handle to a good effect as he added 55 runs for the seventh wicket with glovesman Geetansh Khera (38 batting). Harbhajan's 39-ball innings had three fours and a six.
Punjab will ideally like their lead to be around 200 as they are aiming for bonus points from the encounter.
Maharashtra 1st Innings: 210
Punjab 1st innings 370/8 (Yuvraj Singh 136, Jiwanjot Singh 68, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 58, Harbhajan Singh 31, Anupam Sanklecha 3/75).
Sehwag, Unmukt hit half-centuries as Delhi take lead
New Delhi: Unmukt Chand and Virender Sehwag struck delightful half-centuries to give Delhi the honours against Rajasthan on another fog-hit day in a group B encounter of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament in New Delhi.
Starting on their overnight score of 10 for one in response to Rajasthan's 141 in the first innings, Delhi lost Varun Sood (8) early after play started post lunch due to dense fog in the capital, but the hosts soon gained ground to finish on 201 for three on a day when only 52 overs were possible.
Unmukt (87 batting) and Sehwag (64) made full use of the afternoon sunshine to stitch a 128-run third-wicket partnership and give the Gautam Gambhir-led side a vital 60-run first innings lead.
Sehwag played some entertaining strokes in his 90-ball stay, laced with eight boundaries and a six that took the dashing batsman to his 52nd first-class half-century.
The duo helped Delhi accumulate 131 runs in the post-lunch session to take tea at 141 for two in 38 overs.
The tea-break though did not prove too good for Sehwag, 36, who got out to medium-pacer Shailender Gehlot's delivery.
It was a length delivery and Sehwag rightly played a pull-shot only to be holed out at mid-wicket.
Opener Unmukt, who struck his 10th first-class fifty, carried on with a firmer resolve from then on to stick around with veteran Mithun Manhas (34 batting) and manage an unbeaten 61-run partnership.
Mixing the right dose of caution and aggression, the former India U-19 captain hit 12 fours in his 160-ball stay so far and is looking to make Delhi bat just once in this game.
Sharing the new-ball with Deepak Chahar, Rajasthan's left-arm medium-pacer Aniket Choudhary, who had accounted for Gambhir for a duck on the opening day, has picked up two wickets so far.
Rajasthan stand-in-skipper Ashok Menaria tried to juggle with his bowling options on a tough day on the field but Delhi batsmen called the shots.
Rajasthan 1st innings 141 (Rajesh Bishnoi 57, Aristh Singhvi 28; Parvinder Awana 2-15)
Delhi 1st innings 201/3 in 56 overs (Unmukt Chand 87 not out, Virender Sehwag 64; Aniket Choudhary 2-23).
Kaushik's fifty keeps Railways alive against Karnataka
New Delhi: Opener Abhishek Kaushik struck a gritty half century to lead Railways' fight against defending champions Karnataka on day two of their Ranji Trophy Group A cricket match.
Kaushik's 59 runs off 90 balls on a two-paced surface helped Railways reach 106 for four at stumps, trailing Karnataka by 141 runs. The southpaw's dismissal towards the end of the day was a big blow to the hosts, who remain confident of taking the all-important first-innings lead.
Earlier in the day, the visitors added 40 runs to their overnight total before being all out for 247. Krishnakant Upadhyay took the last three wickets of Karnataka's innings, taking his innings haul to seven for 98.
Compared to day one, more time was lost due to lack of visibility at the Karnail Singh Stadium. Play could only start after lunch and the trend is likely to continue in the remaining two days, making the first-innings lead advantage all the more important.
Railways made a solid beginning after taking an hour to wrap up the opposition innings. Kaushik and Nitin Bhille (10) fought it out against a potent Karnataka pace attack and by tea the home team was 63 for one.
Heated words were exchanged between the close-in fielders and Railways batsmen right before the break and the usual on-field incident fired up the visiting side more in this case.
Stuart Binny bowled his heart out in the final session to get Karnataka back in the match. One of India's World Cup probables cranked up decent pace on a helping pitch to finish with figures of 2 for 18 in eight overs.
Binny had Bhille caught at second slip the first ball after lunch. The Railways batsman could not do much against one that jumped and seamed off the greenish pitch. The medium pacer then trapped the in-form Arindam Ghosh (1) in front of the stumps to leave Railways at 67 for three. Thereafter, the hosts withstood the sustained pressure created by Binny, Abhimanyu Mithun and Vinay Kumar until losing Kaushik close to stumps.
Anustup Majumdar (25 batting) was joined by Avinash Yadav (1 batting) in the middle when umpires decided the light was not good enough to carry on.
Karnataka 247 all out in 82.3 overs (CM Gautam 64, Kunal Kapoor 53; Krishnakant Updadhyay 7/98)
Railways 106/4 in 36.5 overs (Abhishek Kaushik 59; Stuart Binny 2/18).
Ankit’s four-for leaves TN reeling
Chennai: Left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma grabbed four wickets in an impressive spell after his captain Devendra Bundela hit a century as Madhya Pradesh took control of their Ranji Trophy cricket match against Tamil Nadu on the second day.
Bundela struck 104 to join opener Jalaj Saxena (144) as the second centurion for Madhya Pradesh who scored 432 all out in their first innings after resuming the day at 250 for 4 at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Saxena added 24 runs to his overnight 120 to be the first MP batsman to be dismissed.
Bundela, overnight 21, then took over and he added 83 more runs today to take MP to a big total. His 104 came from 231 balls and was studded with 15 fours.
Saxena and Bundela were together at the crease for 21.4 overs this morning, adding 120 runs for the fifth wicket.
Ankit displayed his all-round ability and made an elegant 62 of 76 balls with the help of six fours and three sixes.
For Tamil Nadu, Malolan Rengarajan grabbed seven wickets for 135 runs but his fine performance came at the expense of a big total for the visiting side.
In Tamil Nadu's reply, Ankit (4/60) opened the attack for Madhya Pradesh and was successful in the sixth ball of his first over as he dismissed opener K Bharath Shankar (1) and then claimed two more wickets -- that of Baba Aparajith (5) and Dinesh Karthik (6) -- in his second and third overs.
With Abhinav Mukund showing intent to hold onto his wicket, Madhya Pradesh bowlers concentrated on dismissing Baba Indrajith. Yet again, Ankit scalped Indrajith (39) in the 23rd over of the home side innings.
At close of play today, Mukund was batting on 37 and skipper Ramaswamy Prasanna was giving him company on 16.
Tamil Nadu now trail by 320 runs with six wickets remaining in their first innings.
Madhya Pradesh 1st Innings: 432 all out in 142.4 (Jalaj Saxena 144, Devendra Bundela 104; Malolan Rengarajan 7/135).
Tamil Nadu 1st Innings: 112 for 4 in 37 overs (Baba Indrajit 39, Abhinav Mukund batting 37; Ankit Sharma 4/60).
Gujarat take first innings lead over Saurashtra
Rajkot: Riding on Smit Patel's brilliant century, Gujarat took a slender 41-run first innings lead over Saurashtra, scoring 248 all out on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Group B cricket match.
In reply to Saurashtra's first innings total of 207, Gujarat managed to take a slight edge.
Resuming on three for no loss, Gujarat were struggling at 136 for seven at one stage, despite a 46-run partnership for the second wicket by opener Priyank Kirit Panchal (38) and one-down batsman Bhargav Merai (22).
From 72 for one, Gujarat lost six wickets for an addition of just 64 runs and were at the risk of conceding the first innings lead.
But Smit came to the visiting team's rescue by scoring a patient 162-ball 105 with the help of 14 boundaries. He also shared a crucial 71-run stand with Rush Kalaria (31) for the eighth wicket to take Gujarat past Saurashtra's first innings total.
Smit then put on another 41 runs with Pranjal Sutaria (12 not out) for the ninth wicket to give his team an important first innings lead.
Batting patiently, Smit spent 233 minutes on the crease, even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
For Saurashtra, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with figures of five for 74.
Saurashtra 1st innings: 207 all out
Gujarat 1st innings: 248 all out in 90 overs (Smit Patel 105, Priyank Kirit Panchal 38, Rush Kalaria 31; Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 5/74).
Himachal Pradesh fight back after Goa score 357
Porvorim: Ankit Kalsi and Rashmi Parida scored half centuries as Himachal Pradesh made 172 for three in reply to Goa's 357 all out on day two of the Ranji Trophy Group C match.
Resuming from 274 for seven, overnight batsman Darshan Misal (97) continued his good work as he put up 45 runs alongside Robin Singh for the eighth wicket before missing his century.
Robin D'Souza hit a quick fire 67 off 73 balls with the help of seven sixes and three fours.
In reply, Himachal Pradesh did well to reach 172 for three after losing three early wickets.
Raghav Dhawan (0) was first to go, caught by wicketkeeper Keenan Vaz off Saurabh Bandekar. Gauresh Gawas struck twice to dismiss Ankush Bains(46) and Paras Dorgra(0), leaving the visitors at 71 for three.
Kalsi and Parida batted together to put on 101 runs for the fourth wicket to give stability to the innings.
Goa 357 all out in 109.2 overs (Darshan Misal 97, Robin D'Souza 67; Raghav Dhawan 2/55, Gurvinder Singh 2/70, Karanveer Singh 2/54).
Himachal Pradesh: 172/3 in 68 overs (Ankush Bains 46, Ankit Kalsi 66 batting, Rashmi Parida 55 batting).
UP shot out for 206; Mumbai struggling at 42 for three
Kanpur: After medium pacer Shardul Thakur's inspiring spell of six for 53 helped Mumbai bundle out Uttar Pradesh for a meagre 206, they found themselves in trouble, being reduced to 42 for three on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match.
Resuming on 115 for one, Uttar Pradesh could add just 91 runs to their overnight total, losing as many as nine wickets in only 34.4 overs on a day when only 51.4 overs could be bowled because of inclement weather.
Thakur wreaked havoc, taking three quick wickets in the morning to push the hosts on to the backfoot early on.
Thakur saw off overnight batsman Prashant Gupta, who resumed at a personal score of 41, with the first ball of the day and then sent back new batsman -- Umang Sharma (0) – in his next over to leave Uttar Pradesh reeling at 115 for three from 115 for one last night.
Although Thakur failed to complete a hat-trick, he also dismissed the other overnight batsman -- Tanmay Srivastava, who top scored with 67 off 206 balls.
The hosts could not recover from the initial damage and kept losing wickets at regular interval.
Eklavya Dwivedi (23) was the only other batsman, who could chip in with some runs.
In reply, Mumbai also did not have an ideal start as they also lost three wickets in 17 overs with their top order back in the pavilion.
Both the openers were dismissed by Amit Mishra (2/13).
At stumps, Hiken Shah was unbeaten on 14 and Suryakumar Yadav was yet to open his account.
Uttar Pradesh 1st innings: 206 all out in 84.4 overs (Tanmay Srivastava 67, Prashant Gupta 41, Eklavya Dwivedi 23; Shardul Thakur 6/53).
Mumbai 1st innings: 42 for three in 17 overs (Amit Mishra 2/13).
Joginder Sharma’s five-for wrecks Vidarbha
Rohtak: Haryana dominated the brief period when play was possible as medium pacer Joginder Sharma helped the hosts bundle out Vidarbha for 154 with a five-wicket haul in their Group B Ranji Trophy cricket match.
At close of play on the second day, Haryana were 60/2 with opener Nitin Saini batting on 13. Mohit Sharma was yet to open his account.
Skipper Sunny Singh raced to a 43-ball 30 with the help of six boundaries before being dismissed by Ravi Jangid at the CH Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Lahli.
Avi Barot was the other batsman to get out for the hosts, to Shrikant Wagh.
Only 39.3 overs were bowled on the second day due to bad light.
Earlier, Vidarbha collapsed from overnight 101 for three with Joginder doing the bulk of damage, returning figures of 5/46 in 19.3 overs. Ashish Hooda picked up 3/40 with his medium pace bowling, as the visitors could add just 53 runs on the day.
Haryana trailed by 94 runs with eight wickets remaining in their first innings.
Vidarbha: 154 all out in 68.3 overs (Faiz Fazal 46; Joginder Sharma 5/46, Ashish Hooda 3/40)
Haryana: 60 for 2 in 18 overs (Sunny Singh 30).
Services bowlers fight back against AP
New Delhi: Services bowlers struck back to restrict Andhra Pradesh to 234 in the first innings on another fog-hit day in a group B encounter of the Ranji Trophy match.
Medium-pacers Roshan Raj and Deepak Punia shared four wickets apiece to check the Mohammad Kaif-led side from its opening day score of 160 for three in the four-day encounter at the Palam Grounds.
Raj, 30, playing just his second first-class game, made an impression by picking up overnight batsmen Andimani Ganga Pradeep (59) and Avadhanam Rakesh (23) to start Andhra's rot.
The young Punia then took over from Raj and got Kaif back in the hut for five and subsequently Andhra saw a mini-procession on a day when only 54.4 overs were possible.
Even though No.7 batsman Ricky Bhui scored an unbeaten 48, Punia wiped off the tail in double quick time as four lower-order batsmen got ducks.
In reply, the Yashpal Singh-led Services was 53 for one at stumps on Day 2 with Soumik Chatterjee (18 not out) and Aman Sharma (20 not out) fighting on. They trail by 181 runs.
Andhra pace spearhead Paidikalva Vijaykumar got opener Pratilk Desai caught and bowled for 13.
Andhra Pradesh 1st innings 234 all out in 96.4 overs (Andimani Ganga Pradeep 59, Ricky Bhui 48 not out; Roshan Rj 4-77, Deepak Punia 4-60)
Services 1st innings 53/1 in 18 overs (Soumik Chatterjee 18 not out, Aman Sharma 20 not out; Paidikalva Vijaykumar 1-22).
Tripura take lead against Jharkhand
Dhanbad: Bishal Ghosh and Rakesh Solanki struck half centuries as Tripura consolidated their strong position by reaching 227 for six in their first innings on the second day of their Ranji Trophy cricket match against Jharkhand.
Resuming the day at 72 for two, Tripura added 155 runs from 76 overs today with overnight not out batsmen Gosh (76) and Solanki (67) completing half centuries and sharing 100 runs between them for the third wicket.
Solanki's 67 came from 109 balls and was studded with 12 fours while Gosh consumed 283 balls for his 67 and his slow-paced knock had nine boundaries.
Captain Abhijit Dey and Kaushal Acharjee were batting on 22 and 16 at the draw of stumps.
For Jharkhand, Samar Quadri grabbed two wickets while Shahbaz Nadeem and Sunny Gupta took a wicket each.
Tripura have now taken a lead of 85 runs with four wickets in hand in their first innings.
Jharkhand 1st Innings: 142 all out
Tripura 1st Innings: 227 for 6 in 107 overs (Bishal Gosh 76, Rakesh Solanki 67; Samar Quadri 2/57).
Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photograph: Pal Pillai/Getty Images