November 5, 2012

Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Round I

Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Round I, Day 4

Sidharth Monga

Those three close finishes bring to an end the first round of Ranji Trophy 2012-13. Assam, Jharkhand and Punjab go top with seven points each. Uttar Pradesh and Vidarbha get six points each. Bengal, Mumbai, Gujarat, Himachal, Services and Baroda earn three points. Rajasthan, Railways, MP, Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka get one each. The match between Tamil Nadu and Odisha was so marred by rain they will have to do with one point each

It's been a good first round. Very few dead drab draws. We will have fewer big stars in the following rounds, but ti will be just as fun. See you on the 9th then

Sharda Ugra's description of the finish in Ghaziabad: "In the contest between the ability of the Delhi team to kill time and stretch its changeovers, the fading of the light, and a total that dangled between reach and just out of the grasp, UP seized an outright win over Delhi by six wickets.

It took an aggressive but controlled century from Virender Sehwag (107, 165b 19x4) to gave Delhi half a chance to grab some points from their season opener. A target of 155 had been set and the match stretched into mandatory overs. By then, UP lost Suresh Raina with 38 still left to win, and Mohammad Kaif was injured. But they held their nerves to snatch the six points."

4.44pm - Kerala earn a draw In the final finish of htis round, Kerala have hung on for a draw after having fallen behind by more than 300 runs. Rohan Prem and Raiphi Gomez have batted out 28 overs. And before that Prem and Robert Fernandez stayed together for 42 overs. Otherwise, at 92 for 5, seven points looked Himachal's. Now Kerala get one, and Himachal three

4.37pm - UP have done it UP have secured six points with what looks like a comfortable but is really a tense one given the fading light and falling wickets. The winning shot is a late-cut from Alam. He pumps the air running down the wicket to hug his partner Ali Murtaza the moment the ball goes past the diving slipper Manhas. A massive cheer goes up, and the sun has become a bright orange

4.31pm - Rohan Prem has nearly done it for Kerala Rohan Prem reaches a hundred. Only 2.4 overs left to survive. Kerala have all but slavaged the one point

4.30pm - UP's last stretch Ishant Sharm's last over has gone for 10, and Ali Murutza has cut and swept Vikas Mishra for fours too. Only six required now. This has to be it

4.24pm - MP salvage one point Saxena and Rajan have done it. They have batted together for 24.3 overs for the eight wicket to earn MP a draw against Gujarat. That's one hard-earned point for MP. Guajarat will have to do with three. Saxena 52 not out, Rajan 9 not out off 64 balls. They denied Gujarat for 97 minutes

4.16pm - Final drinks break in Ghaziabad UP's las seven wickets need just 25 from mandatory overs, but it's not as straightforward as that. The light is fading, so they will be a little anxious. And as I type UP have lost their fourth wicket. Parvinder out to Vikas Mishra. Fails to clear mid-off. This match has life yet. And Delhi fielders don't seem to be in any hurry to bowl. Shin pads are being changed. Helmets are being called for. Late drama

4.15pm - Kerala denying Himachal Rohan Prem has now reached 80, and his seventh-wicket partnership of 20 over sand counting has all but deflated Himachal's charge for an outright win. Seven more overs to go, according to my calculation. Will we have a late twist?

4.12pm - MP can see a draw MP's eight-wicket pair of Saxena and Rajan have now seen through 21.3 overs. That leaves them - from what I can tell - only four more overs to bat out for a draw, and the one resultant point. Saxena is 50 not out, and Rajan 5 off 58 balls

4.10pm - UP can smell it Parvinder Singh has hit both Ishant Sharma and Ashish nehra for boundaries to bring the target down to 26 runs. Light is fading, UP are three down, and Kaif can't bat before No. 7 (I think)

4pm - Back to Indore Eight overs left now. 17.3 overs survived by the eighth-wicket pair of Saxena and Rajan

3.57pm - Close in Naduan too Himachal now need four wickets in 11.2 overs to beat Kerala by an innings. They are facing stiff resistance from Rohan Prem and Raiphi Gomez, who have been together for 15.4 overs

3.52pm - 'Finisher' doesn't finish Suresh Raina, qualified often as "finisher" by India captain, has fallen with the target in sight. Mohammad Kaif didn't field in the morning, so is not allowed to bat yet. Kaif has a finger injury too

UP still need 38. "Delhi now dawdling between overs with big guns Ishant and Nehra bowling in tandem," says Sharda Ugra. Late drama in Ghaziabad then

3.50pm - UP cruising through In Ghaziabad, UP have reached 115 for 2, and need just 40 runs to secure six points. Raina 35 not out, Parvinder 11 not out. Ishant wicketless in 7.2 overs. The crowd, though, is getting a little nervous, and is shouting, "Jaldi kariyo, andhera ho riye." [Hurry up, it's getting dark.

3.45pm - Update from Indore Gujarat now have 11 overs left to take the last three wickets. The partnership between Saxena and Rajan is now 14.3 overs old. Saxena 35 off 77, and Rajan 5 off 42

3.40pm - Called off in Kolkata We have a draw at Eden Gardens too. Hrishikesg Kanitkar unbeaten on 80, Rashmi Parida on 52, but mostly it was batting practice, with 22 overs of spin out of 52. Bengal get three points, defending champions Rajasthan get one

3.35pm - Saxena and Rajan still hanging in MP's eight-wicket partnership between Saxena and Rajan is now 11.4 overs old. Rajan 1 off 33, Saxena 22 off 66. MP need to bat out another 14 overs to deny Gujarat a win. This one is really close

3.30 - UP on course With the light holding up well, Uttar Pradesh are well on their way to chasing 155 to get six points against Delhi. They are 96 for 2 with possibly around 25 overs still to go. Raina and Parvinder at the wicket with Kaif there as an assurance should anything go wrong

3.24pm - Now seven points for Punjab Harbhajan Singh has celebrated his return to Test side by leading his Ranji side to an innings win over Hyderabad. Harbhajan takes three wickets to go with Siddarth Kaul's five. Siddarth's older brother Uday Kaul, the wicketkeeper, got five catches. Laxman top-scored with 67 in Hyderabad's 239. They have lost by an innings and 68 runs

3.20pm - Seven points for Assam Pallav Das has scored 52 in Assam's successful chase of 62. They now join Jharkhand at top of Group C with seven points each

3.18pm - Called off in Mumbai It's all over in Mumbai. They shake hands and walk off. Mumbai get three points, Railways one

3.16pm - Thriller in Indore Jalaj Saxena, the India A spinner, and Anand Rajan, who took seven wickets in the first innings, are hanging on, trying desperately to get MP one point through a draw. They have batted close to nine overs for seven runs. Saxena is 17 off 55, and Rajan 0 not out off 25. MP need to bat out another 16.5 overs

3.10pm - Tendulkar doesn't want to bat Meanwhile, at Wankhede, Mumbai have sent in Dhawal Kulkarni ahead of Sachin Tendulkar. Mumbai 218 for 5 in a game that died the moment Railways saved the follow-on in the morning session. Let me tell you, there is no fitness concern around him. He fielded in the morning. It's just that it's difficult to motivate self to bat in such situations

"What Happened No updates Last 40-45 min... ?????" Kapil Singh, it was some technical issue. I have sorted it out. Close this tab, reopen cricinfo.com and then click on the link to the live blog, and you will get everything

3.05pm - Punjab push through Punjab have just taken the eighth Hyderabad wicket. Two wickets, 28 overs to go. Punjab will hate to miss out on a win now

2.42pm Rajasthan are 103 for 3 against Bengal, but one session in fading light is not likely to be enough for Bengal to force an outright win

2.40pm - Now for a drab draw Baroda batted on and on to leave Karnataka 372 to win. That's three points for Baroda, and one for Karnataka

2.35 - Assam get ever so close Chasing 62 against Tripura, they are 27 for no loss in six overs

2.30pm - Not drab draws A few other matches might be headed for draws, but there are at least three teams hanging on to dear lives just for the one point they'll get if they save the match. In Indore, MP are 203 for 7 with 25 overs to go. Gujarat are depserate for the remaining three wickets. In Mohali, Punjab have 32 overs left to dismiss the last three Hyderabad batsmen and get whatever target they leave them. As of now, Hyderabad need 87 to make Punjab bat again. In Naduan, Himachal need five wickets in 28 overs. Kerala's sixth-wicket partnership between Rohan Prem and Robert Fernandez has more than doubled their score from 92 for 5

2.22pm - Raina back to No. 3 Mukul Dagar holes out to long-on looking for quick runs as UP chase 1355. They are 55 for 1 now. Raina, who batted at No. 5 in the first innings, comes in at No. 3. Two theories behind it.

First, that UP need quick runs and hence Raina is more suited. Second, and slightly naughty, is that Raina gave up his usual UP batting position in the first innings because he was playing for a No. 6 slot in the Indian Test side. Now that he has been dropped, he is back to No. 3.

2.17pm - Now for some Tendulkar? Mumbai batsmen are keen to have Tendulkar, who doesn't seem that keen, bat. Abhishek Nayar is gone too. And Tendulkar teases some more. Iqbal Abdulla is the new batsman. Now we have Sharma, Nayar and Abdulla who have batted ahead of him. The crowd loses all its enthusiasm at the sight of Abdulla walking out

2.15pm - More mockers This time on Rahane. Minutes after I said he is set for another century, he has holed out to long-on. Tendulkar teases some more. Mumbai send in Abhishek Nayar ahead of him. Poor crowd, sitting in 36C heat at Wankhede

2.14pm - Kohli is back Virat Kohli is back on the field in Ghaziabad. UP 52 for 0 in the 14th over, chasing 155. Ishant Sharma 4-0-13-0

2.12pm - Tendulkar teases again In a dead match at Wakhede, Mumbai have sent in Rohit Sharma ahead of Sachin Tendulkar again. The crowd - a small one - is not thrilled. Anyway, Ajinkya Rahane is set for another hundred. Not out on 82. Mumbai 196 for 2

2.10pm - Services get three In a rain-interrupted match in Anantapur, Services have taken first-innings lead by bowling Andhra out for 224 for 9. K Shahabuddin has retired for 69. That's the end of interest in this match.

1.55pm - Dagar aggressive Mukul Dagar, who got his maiden century in the first innings, has raced away to 28 off 30 to give UP a decent start to the chase of 155. They are 39 for 0 after 10 overs. They might want to keep an eye on the quality of the light. Although Sharda tells me the sun is out

1.47pm - Assam on home stretch Assam have finally bowled out Tripura, their last four wickets taking them from 93 to 366. That leaves Assam 62 to get for an outright win. If their openers get them there, they will secure seven points. If they lose a wicket getting there, they'll get just six

1.45pm - Wankhede crowd helps itself Ever since Railways avoided the follow-on, this was going to be a drab game, but try telling that to the resourceful Mumbai crowd. They are entertaining themselves by sledging Murali Kartik near Vijay Merchant Stand. "Murali Kartik, bowling kar, fielding chhod," is one of the publishable items, says Cricinfo's Ranjit Shinde, who is also in the stands. I can vouch Ranjit didn't contribute to the sledging

1.37pm - even Kohli not on the field Now even Virat Kohli is not on the field in Ghaziabad. Virender Sehwag is already off with a cut finger. Zaheer Khan didn't field in his game. However, don't forget that Sehwag scored a century with a cut finger. Chasing 155, UP are 21 for 0 in the seventh over.

1.35pm - Assam being made to wait Ajay Ratra's 124 has taken Tripura to 359 for 9, which is a lead of 54. They were 93 for 6 at one point. Assam will be getting anxious now. Remember the game is being played in Guwahati, and will end earlier than other matches. About 30 overs left

1.33pm - Andhra hang in too An unbeaten 44-run stand for the eight wicket has kept Andhra in the match. They are now 182 for 7, chasing 298 for a first-innings lead in a rain-interrupted game

1.31pm - Kerala fighting hard Kerala are 164 for 5, trying to ward off an innings defeat to Himachal. They need a further 143 to make Himachal bat again. Alternatively there are only 41 overs left in the match

1.29pm - Eden set for a draw Rajasthan have lost just one wicket in 20 overs, and we are headed for a draw in Kolkata. Especially since we are reaching the hour where bad light has interrupted play on all the three previous days. Bengal will get three points, Rajasthan one

1.27pm - MP holding Gujarat up Gujarat need to take six MP wickets in 40 overs to take six points. Otherwise they will have to do with three. Opener Satyam Choudhary stays unbeaten after four-and-a-half hours

1.25pm - Laxman gone Punjab can smell an outright win with VVS Laxman gone to Siddarth Kaul, who has now taken five wickets. Hyderabad are 179 for 6, and need 128 to make Punjab bat again

1.23pm - Baroda more than safe Baroda have reached 210 for 7, and with a lead of 322 with one-and-a-half sessions to go, they could declare if they wanted. But this is where the crunched schedules come in. Because there is hardly any gap between matches, teams are not interested in punishing their bowlers in search of miraculous victories

1.20pm Sehwag is not on the field as UP go after the target of 155. This is perhaps understandable. He did his job with the bat, and there is no point risking worsening that cut finger in the field. UP 5 for 0 after 2.4 overs

Zaheer Khan bowls during a fitness test at Wankhede, Mumbai v Railways, Group A, Ranji Trophy 2012-13, November 5, 2012
Zaheer Khan went through what looked like a fitness test during the lunch break at Wankhede. He didn't take field today after pulling up sore mid-over in the last session yesterday  © Sharwin Samant
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1.05pm - Raina drops Sehwag, selectors drop Raina News is coming in that Suresh Raina will be captaining UP for a few more matches. M Vijay has taken his place. At least it's all in the CSK family

Both Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh are back, replacing S Badrinath and Piyush Chawla respectively. Both Sehwag and Zaheer are deemed fit

12.46pm - Delhi lose Sehwag Imtiaz has brought UP's chances of an outright win right back into the picture. He has now got rid of Sehwag, who played an ungainly pull to Praveen Kumar at mid-on. He trudges back, annoyed. Sehwag gone for 107, Imtiaz gets four. Delhi 314 for 9, a lead of 146

Ashish Nehra smacks two boundaries before being bowled, and UP are now chasing 155 for their six points. Bhuvneshwar takes the last wicket, so Imtiaz will get only four. Falls one short of a 10-for against a near Test batting line-up. What a match it would has been for him: a maiden five-for, followed so nearly by a maiden 10-for

12.40pm So Zaheer does seem to have gone through a fitness test. The selection committee meeting is on at Cricket Centre next doors to Wankhede Stadium. Ashish Kaushik, the NCA physio who was oversaw Zaheer's workout during lunch at Wankhede, has just been spotted at Cricket Centre. So it seems that he has just passed on the findings from that exercise to the selectors

12.37pm - UP strike after lunch Soon after lunch, Imtiaz has Ishant Sharma caught by keeper Amir Khan. So Sehwag putting up a lone fight. Unbeaten on 106. Delhi 313 for 8, a lead of 145

12.30pm - Ball trouble, again This is hardly news, but a 10-over-old ball is being changed in Kolkata. On the first day of the match, the new one was changed in the second over

12.05pm - Is this a fitness test for Zaheer? Sid Talya tells me that Zaheer is being watched over by Ashish Kaushik, the NCA physio, and Niranjan Pandit, the MCA physio. Have the selectors asked for this before they meet to pick the squad for the first Test?

Noon - other lunch updates In Anantapur, Services are 178 for 7, chasing 298 for a first-innings lead

In Guwahati, Assam are a step closer to an outright win. They have got rid of the half-centurion Timir Chanda to make it 314 for 8 for Tripura. Ajay Ratra is 102 not out, and Tripura are effectively 9 for 8

In Naduan, Kerala are 134 for 5. They still need 173 to make Himachal bat again

In Vadodara hosts Baroda are almost assured of three points. At 180 for 7 at lunch, they have reached a lead of 302. There is no way Karnataka are getting that in two sessions, so this is now a game where only Baroda can win

In Indore, Gujarat, too, have struck just before lunch. Naman Ojha's wicket has brought them three in a cluster. Mehul Patel, who took four in the first innings, has two more. Gujarat need seven wickets in the next two session for six points. Otherwise, they will have to do with just three

In Mohali, VVS Laxman has lost the company of Akshath Reddy just before lunch. Laxman still unbeaten on 63. Hyderabad's last six wickets will need to bat through the day to salvage one point

11.50am Sehwag lashes the last ball before lunch, from Imtiaz, through to point for four, looks at him with disdain, tucks his bat under his arm, turns around and walks off even before the umpires can take the bails off. Ishant calls him to check what is happening before realising it's lunch and they walk off together. Sehwag 105 not out. Delhi effectively 140 for 7. Remember, Raina dropped Sehwag when he was 70

11.45am It's lunch at Wankhede, but that game was over for all practical purposes the moment Railways avoided the follow-on. However, Sid Talya tells me that Zaheer is on the field during the break and is measuring his run-up. Those are good signs for India. The selectors will meet soon in the BCCI cricket centre next doors

11.40am "And why the 'Dadi' jibe at Saurav? Typo? ref...first entries of the day." Ravi, that's no jibe. That's what his team-mates affectionately call him

11.32am - Sehwag has the century Sehwag goes from 83 to 101 in five shots. Four fours and a couple to bring the century up. And then he gives the stands at fine leg the biggest acknowledgement of all. Delhi's lead 135 now. However, Pradeep Sangwan is gone immediately after Sehwag's hundred. Delhi still have a fight on their hands. Says Sharda Ugra, "If body language through corn soup light can be read, Sehwag was staring at Narwal part annoyance-part-disbelief"

11.30am - Sehwag's blinder in ordinary light It's so hazy in Ghaziabad, Sharda Ugra tells me, that it looks like a mosquito mesh has been put between them and the playing field. Or, even better, she says, it looks the same colour and chicken corn soup. However, Virender Sehwag is shining bright there, reaching a fighting unbeaten 95 to take Delhi's lead to 129

And meanwhile Zaheer Khan has been spotted jogging and stretching at Wankhede. Says Sid Talya: "Zaheer Khan is right outside the MCA Pavilion, just behind the boundary ropes. He’s in his Red Mumbai practice jersey and is stretching, watched over by the Mumbai trainer Amogh Pandit. He’s now jogging sideways, switches to jogging backwards and then diagonally. He is also delivering a few balls but without a run-up." Good signs overall for India, but Mumbai sure missed him in their push for enforcing the follow-on

11.20am - Lunch at Eden Ashok Dinda has knocked Ankit Lamba's off stump over just before lunch. Bengal now need nine Rajasthan wickets in two sessions (bad light will play some part too) for six points from this match. Rajasthan need to hang in for one point

11.15am - Hundred for Ratra Former Test centurion Ajay Ratra has kept his adopted side Tripura afloat. If only for a bit, but he has. His century has taken them to 305 for 8 against Assam, and now Assam will have to bat again, with their openers having to go through the nerves of trying to win for no loss in order to get all seven points

11.10am - Himachal move closer Himachal have taken two wickets this morning to reduce Kerala to 102 for 5, now 205 adrift of making Himachal bat again

11.05am - Slipping away from Karnataka Baroda are closer to ensuring their three points against Karnataka. Pinal Shah and Ketan Panchal have added 39 for the seventh wicket to take the lead to 285. Karnataka running out of time, and we are now likelier to see a declaration than Baroda being bowled out

11.02am - Laxman and Mohali at it again? VVS is 40 not out, needing to bat the whole day to salvage a point for Hyderabad. Opeber P Akshath Reddy has kept him company, with 45 not out. At 111 for 3, they are still 196 short of Punjab's first-innings lead

11am - Delhi's lead crosses 100, Raina drops Sehwag Virender Sehwag is still keeping Delhi afloat, but UP captain Suresh Raina has dropped him on 70. At first slip, off the bowling of Imtiaz. Delhi are now effectively 109 for 6

10.55am - Rajasthan set 330 Bengal's last pair takes 23 off the last over Tiwary had given them before declaring. In theory, they have 67 overs to bowl Rajasthan out, who can't possibly chase this target now. Saha, with a second fifty in the match, raises his bat to the paltry crowd as he walks back

10.50am - Fifty for Ojha Naman Ojha has kept Gujarat at bay with 60 not out. MP 95 for 0 chasing 407 for a win. remember Gujarat took the first-innings lead

And Manoj Tiwary is ready to declare in Kolkata. At 209 for 9, a lead of 306, Tiwary has given Saha another over to bat. Saha is 56 not out

10.30am - All but done in Kolkata In the sense that Bengal have reached safety. Wriddhi Saha, 42 not out, is looking for a second fifty in the match, with Bengal now effectively 285 for 7. Rajasthan have tried hard, but are down to part-time bowling now. Time for Bengal to push for declaration now?

10.25am - Andhra hanging on In Anantapur, Andhra are hanging on for dear life. Starting overnight at 87 for 6, they have reached 113 for no further loss. They are chasing 298 for three points after weather made sure we wouldn't have a complete match. The irony, though, is that even if Andhra hang on but don't reach 298, they will still get the one point they will be getting by being bowled out. It's Services, who have to push here. They need to bowl Andhra out to get three points

10.20am - What a life Devashish Fuloria has this lovely story to tell from the stands: "A group of kids in their whites have left to play their match in Azad Maidan. Their plan is to finish the game in 2 hours and be back here after lunch to watch Sachin. It is either Mumbai Indians or Sachin for them, but the way they applaud a solid front foot defence shows that they know their cricket."

How many of you wish you could do this again?

10.15am - Ray of hope for Karnataka Stuart Binny and Abhimanyu have got the overnight Baroda batsmen - Irfan Pathan and Abhimanyu Chauhan - out. Baroda now 254 for 6 effectively

10.10am - fifty for Sehwag Virender Sehwag has reached his half-century and Delhi are now 243 for 6. That's 75 in lead. If Sehwag can eke out another 100 with the tail, Delhi can be assured of at least one point from this match

10.05am - A case for Pankaj? I know he is bowling in hepful conditions - both underfoot and overhead - but Pankaj Singh is sending a timely reminder to the selectors that he exists. From what I understand, he never graduated to the next level because of a lack of pace. However, apart from Umesh Yadav, I don't quite see any India bowler setting the speed gun ablaze. And Pankaj Singh has now taken nine wickets for 83 in Kolkata to keep defending champions Rajasthan alive in the contest. I know it's a bit of a far cry, but Pankaj deserves to at least be discussed in that meeting in Mumbai

10am - another match over The rain-affected match in Cuttack has been called off. We only had time for 33.1 overs. TN scored 67 for 3. Now they share a point each

9.50am - Drab day in the offing at Wankhede Railways have avoided follow-on. We can't have an outright result there now, and Mumbai will have to do with three points. Railways bowled out for 426, but that won't make a difference now

If Zaheer indeed had just a cramp, it is very unbecoming of a Mumbai side to not give their all to try to enforce a follow-on, the only way they could have taken six points from this match. Zaheer can rest now. At least we can see Sachin Tendulkar bat again. Perhaps

Cricinfo's Devashish Fuloria, who is using his day off to watch Ranji Trophy, sends me this from the stands: "150-200 people in the stands here, mostly kids. They are all here to see Sachin"

9.47am - Sehwag running out of partners Delhi lose Sumit Narwal to a direct hit from cover. Every one in the ground could hear Sehwag shouting "no, no" but Narwal left his crease at non-striker's, and the cover fielder, Arish Alam, sent the stumps flying. Delhi effectively 54 for 6. Sehwag, though, seems to have had enough, and is cutting loose now. Three boundaries, one wicket and one hollering appeal in this over

9.42am - Mohali and Laxman In a familiar setting at the PCA Satdium, VVS Laxman is faced with a familiar rearguard action. He is 15 not out, and needs to bat through the day to salvage one point for Hyderabad, who are three down already

9.41am - Bhuvneshwar keeps striking Sehwag has lost Manhas in the fight for one point. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets Mithun to edge to second slip. Gone for 65. Delhi now effectively 46 for 5 9.35am - Mockers on Shukla I have well and truly put the mockers on. Shukla tries an ugly pull to a wide delivery outside off, and top-edges it to mid-off. Bengal still won't be panicking.

Anyway, lovely pitch in Kolkata and conducive overhead conditions. Ging by the India captain's demands, they better not give India this wicket for the Test against England. If they do, somebody gonna get a-hurt real bad

9.30am - Bengal nudge towards safety Lokhi Shukla, one of the few promising allrounders India had since Kapil Dev, and also one of the few who couldn't quite translate the promise into international success, has roughed out crucial 45 minutes in Kolkata to take Bengal - in the company of Wriddhi Saha - to a lead of 253 with five wickets in hand. Now they are relatively safe, and adventurous captains can now start thinking of a declaration

9.25am - Sehwag is on Better news from Ghaziabad: Virender Sehwag is continuing batting, and Delhi are now 207 for 4, which means they are effectively 39 for 4 now

9.15am - Zak is not back Sid Talya has been pretty close to the Mumbai huddle, and he has spotted that Zaheer Khan has not taken the field, despite insistence form Mumbai management that his pulling out yesterday was not to be read into, and repeated insistence that he will be bowling today. Mumbai are now pushing for a follow-on, the only way they can win this match, without the help of their star bowler. Railways now within 30 of avoiding batting again

9.10am - Syed Mohammad breaks through Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, who is from Tamil Nadu and who has represented the Mallyas in IPL and is now playing for Assam, has got Mora Singh out for 62 to break a 107-run seventh-wicket Tripura stand that had help Assam up for long. Tripura still need 104 to make Assam bat again

9.05am "that's not Nitin Bhille driveng, it's Mahesh Rawat. The Wicket Keeper. I am very sure." Yes Harsahej, you are right, that indeed is Rawat. I am making corrections. And I need to wake up properly

9am "does anyone know why yuvraj not playing ranji?" Sahil Gehlot, the Punjab selectors didn't want to put him through the stress of seven continuous days of first-class cricket, it is understood. Remember Yuvraj was part of the India A side against the English in a game that finished about 16 hours before the start of the first Ranji match

Meanwhile two old pros are fighting for their teams. Lokhi Shukla in Kolkata is looking to take Bengal to safety. They are now effectively 214 for 5. And in Guwahati, Ajay Ratra is still hodling up Assam's charge for an innings win. He has reached 58, but Tripura still need 105 to make Assam bat again

8.46am - Dadi checks in A good sight to see Sourav Ganguly - in his training gear - at the ground at 8.30am even though he has nothing to gain from this match personally. He has retired from IPL, he is not playing Ranji, but he has turned up to check on the Bengal boys and is chatting with captain Manoj Tiwary

Pictures from yesterday: Jiwanjot celebrates his double, Railways' Mahesh Rawat drives, and Zaheer Khan walks off, an all too familiar sight

Jiwanjot Singh plays a ball towards the leg side, Punjab v Hyderabad, Group A, Ranji Trophy, Mohali, November 4, 2012
Debutant Jiwanjot nudges one to leg en route to a debut double, which put him in an Indian club of five. G Vishwanath and Amol Muzumdar are two illustrious names there  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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8.45am Not many know this but we begin 15 minutes early on the final day of Ranji matches. A possible thrilling day in prospect. In theory, every match not affected by result can still produce a result. If Railways avoid the follow-on in Mumbai - they need 41 to do so - that match will turn into a drab last day pretty soon. Lots to watch out for selectors. They still have time to see if Zaheer Khan bowls today, or how Virender Sehwag pulls up, but given that there are still 10 days to go to first Test they might take some punts too. Will it be Rahane or will it be Badri to make way for Yuvraj? Rahane seems to be on safer ground. And who will be the third spinner now that the great Piyush Chawla is injured? Will it be Harbhajan Singh? And will the selectors repose faith in the faltering openers?

Back to today's other matches, Bengal v Rajasthan, despite nearly a day lost to bad light, is still a beauty, and will start first, being played as it is in the east. Staying in the east, Assam need just four wickets to wrap up an innings win against Tripura.

In the rest of India, Karnataka will need a bagful of wickets early to make a match against Baroda. Gujarata have secured three points and are looking for an outright win against MP. Himachal and Punjab will push for outright wins too.

And then we have UP pushing a near Test side of Delhi to the brink. An injured Sehwag is fighting it out with seasoned pro Mithun Manhas, but UP will fancy their chances there

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Tushar Kumar Kundan on (November 5, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

i am really surprised to Yuvraj Singh in the team.....

Posted by Raghavan on (November 5, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Great to see very few draws this season unlike last season where there were a lot of draws.And the teams who take first innings leads lose 3 points instead of 1 point as it was last year.6 points for wins is great.

Posted by Srinivasan D on (November 5, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@Daredevil, I still don`t know where you come from? We can`t satisfy every one.Isn`t?..in your case it shows exactly the same..What Mr.Karthik mentiones is right..Raina was the captain of that side. He could have been bat at 3 in that match. But what he did..everyone knows..Just respect...nothing more..

Posted by md. anwar hossain on (November 5, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

i am really surprised to zaheer khan in the squad

Posted by Paras Rishi on (November 5, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Sehwag's fighting 100 against UP in spite of an injury deserves a special mention.

Posted by raja on (November 5, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

horrible selection for replacing raina with vijay.i dont know why they leave badrinath?he is better player than vijay.he never gets enough opportunity like raina or yuvaraj singh. this new selection panel is srikanth version2. please dont expect anything from this selection panel. i assure the same squad will play all four matches no doubt at all.

Posted by pgn on (November 5, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

UP's win over Delhi has to go down as one of the biggest upsets seen in Ranji Trophy for a while. Delhi had the closest one could get to a dream team in this competition.

Posted by daredevil on (November 5, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

@karthik there is nothing unselfish by raina, he did bowl 16 overs by himself and didn gve tiwary much to bowl! Imp bcci notification, its mandatory that to be selected for indian team u should first be a CSK

Posted by Saurabh on (November 5, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

The most likely opening combination for now looks like Gauti and Rahane with Sehwag's turning up for Delhi lower down the order,a rehearsal for the coming tests.Bowling looks very doubtful...hope Zaheer does not leave the team hanging with his fitness problems and they take an objective call on it.To merely state for the millionth time that he is the Sachin Tendulkar of India's pace attack without adequately assessing his fitness would be cheating the cricket fans of the country.And no one's indispensable...not e'en the great Sachin himself.

Posted by karan jain on (November 5, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

i think its the same selectors wearing masks and changed their names. No way you can pick exactly same team which is no good. Its such a let down again. Take some bold decisions man, we have lost so many matches playing this same team. Are these selectors barred from watching internatinal cricket.

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