January 6, 2013

Ranji Trophy 2012-13, QF

Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Quarter-finals, Day 1

Sidharth Monga

Saurashtra (toss) 272 for 5 (Jackson 83) v Karnataka in Rajkot

Services (toss) 154 for 5 (Imtiaz 3-54) lead UP 134 (Imtiaz 53*, Nazar 5-51, Nishan 3-44) by 20 in Indore

Mumbai (toss) 272 for 3 (Jaffer 137*, Tendulkar 108) v Baroda in Mumbai

Jharkhand (toss) 195 for 3 (Nemat 97*, Jaggi 50*) v Punjab in Jamshedpur

5pm - Stumps in Indore Services finish a superb day for themselves at 154 for 5. That's a lead of 20. They have stunned UP today, asking them to bat first and bowling them out for 134 despite a blazing half-century from Imtiaz Ahmed from No. 10. Shadab Nazar took five for Services

With that I bid farewell. Thanks for joining us. Cheers

4.58pm - Stumps in Mumbai Dhawal Kulkarni does his job as a nightwatchman, playing 15 balls for no run, taking Mumbai into tomorrow with only three wickets down. Mumbai 272 for 3, Jaffer unbeaten on 137, Tendulkar scored 108. Baroda were lacklustre with what seemed like just two specialist bowlers. They dropped one sitter when Jaffer was on 96, and they were denied a plumb lbw early in Jaffer's innings

4.55pm - Abhishek in Indore

Run-out appeal goes to the third umpire, who rules Paliwal has made it for a tight single after Sarabjit dropped one in front of point. Could be a big moment, Paliwal has been Services' second-highest run-getter this season. Services 154 for 5, a lead of 20

4.45pm - Stumps in Rajkot Summed up this bu Sid Ravindran: "All the pre-match talk had centred on how the pitch would behave at the Saurashtra University Ground in Rajkot. With no first-class matches played at the venue so far, neither captain knew how the track would behave. The ground had been used so little that even the scorers didn’t know what the two bowling ends are called, and the Karnataka manager wondered whether it would be an under-prepared wicket. All those worries proved unfounded as the surface had little in it to worry the batsmen, and Karnataka’s bowlers struggled to maintain any sustained pressure through the day. Still, they managed to prise out five wickets and keep Saurashtra to 272 for 5, not a total that will worry the visitors too much."

4.40pm - Tendulkar bowled again But not before he has scored a century to put Mumbai in ascendance. Murtuja Vahora is elated. Big inswinger, goes through the gap between bat and pad, and sends the off stump cartwheeling. Tendulkar is forward in defence, seems to have covered the line, but the ball moves in sharply to go through the small gate. What joy for Vahora, who has toiled for long. Gone for 108. Mumbai 269 for 3. Jaffer not out on 135. The two added 234 for the third wicket. In comes nightwatchman Dhawal Kulkarni

4.35pm - Services in the lead Rajat Palliwal and wicketkeeper Sarabjit Singh have added 39 for the sixth wicket to take Sergices into the lead with five wickets in hand. Services 136 for 5

4.15pm - Stumps in Jamshedpur Only 74 overs possible today with fog in the morning and bad light in the evening. Jharkhand reached a satisfactory 195 for 3 against the fancied Punjab. Nemat unbeaten on 97, and Jaggi on 50

4.07pm - Hundred for Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar nudges one to fine of long leg for a couple to bring up his 18th Ranji and 80th first-class hundred. That's one short of Indian record held by Sunil Gavaskar, who scored 81 first-class hundreds. Gavaskar scored 20 hundreds. Tendulkar can match that this year.

A spectators runs onto the field, Tendulkar is not thrilled because he embarrasses him by touching his feet. Mumbai now 257 for 2. Jaffer 130 off 225, Tendulkar 102 off 206. A decent Sunday-afternoon crowd in

3.55pm - Abhishek Purohit in Indore

UP hitting back now. Imtiaz has his third. Yashpal surprised by one lifting from a length, and the keeper moves to his right to reduce Services to 97 for 5

3.50pm - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

A breakthrough just before the new ball. Sheldon Jackson misses his century. KP Appanna was bowling with a leg-side field - only three on the off side - and had even bowled a leg-side wide earlier in the over. Sheldon Jackson launched one towards long-off, he didn't get all of it. The ball swirled towards KL Rahul who ran back and to his left, the ball was swirling around in the breeze but Rahul plucked an outstanding tumbling catch. Just what Karnataka needed. Saurashtra 250 for 5, Jackson gone for 83

Meanwhile bad light has stopped play in Jamshedpur. Jharkhand 195 for 3. Nemat not out on 97, Jaggi on 50. Only 74 overs bowled today

3.45pm - UP right back Says Abhishek Purohit: "Services losing another batsman who has played on. Swain chopping Tyagi onto his stumpss now. Services 79 for 4. Still 55 behind"

3.40pm - Amol Karhadkar in Jamshedpur

A brace off Ladda gives Jaggi a deserving fifty, the classiest knock on the day. Nemat is till on 95. Jharkhand 193 for 3, Harbhajan wicketless after 15 overs

3.38pm - Siddarth Ravindran in Rajkot

It's been a comfortable half hour after for Saurashtra. Nothing much to worry their batsmen. The bowling is looking flat, the sun is out, there's a nice breeze and the partnership between Jackson and Vasavada is nearing a hundred. Saurashtra 241 for 4, Jackson 81 not out

3.35pm - Abhishek Purohit in Indore

Some luck for UP now, Avishek Sinha hopping to play a shortish Imtiaz delivery, and chopping it onto the stumps. Services 75 for 3 after 21 overs. Over-rates tardy today with three fast bowlers each being used by both sides

3.30pm - Jaffer reaches hundred No. 31 With an exquisite cover-drive, Wasim Jaffer has completed his century. Now he is 102 off 205. He is now level with Ajay Sharma with most centuries in Ranji Trophy. He is also on his way to reclaiming the record for most runs in Ranji Trophy. Mumbai 209 for 2

3.23pm - Amol in Jamshedpur

As Nemat is desperate to sneak singles and complete what will be his first century of the season, he is issued an official warning for running on the danger area. Jharkhand 190 for 3, Nemat 95 not out

3.21pm - Jaffer dropped Baroda seem to have dropped their only way back into the match. Jaffer cuts Gagandeep Singh, edges to slip, and it goes in and out of captain Yusuf Pathan's hands. Break in concentration. Jaffer 96, Mumbai 199 for 2. Second let-off for Jaffer

3.20pm - Abhishek in Indore

Another strike for UP, Tyagi getting Nakul Verma to drive and Mohammad Kaif at slip taking a sharp low catch, and then gesturing towards the dressing room, as if to say, 'That is how you take 'em slip catches." Services 67 for 2

3.15pm - Amol in Jamshedpur

Harbhajan Singh misfields and gestures at the crowd to come and help him field the ball. The 1,000-strong crowd goes wild and cheers the Punjab captain. And two balls hence, the ball goes to Harbhajan again. And this time around, he raises his hands in the air after neatly collecting at.

3pm I must disappoint Papi Reddy by informing him that I don't have Tendulkar's phone number (my boss might fire me for that, but don't think he is reading this). Meanwhile, Sid Ravindran has had time to explore the ground during tea. This is what he found:

About 20 meters behind the sight screen there's a one-storey college building. First floor has classrooms which would provide perhaps the best view of the match. No students there as today is a Sunday. Was wondering whether they would watch the game from there tomorrow, but that section has been covered with white cloth now as a sort of extension of the sight screen

2.40pm - Tea updates A wicketless session. Jaffer and Tendulkar bossing it big time. Jaffer 92 (186), Tendulkar 77 (156). Mumbai 193 for 2

Nemat and Jaggi have appeared to be in little trouble as Jharkhand go in at tea at 177 for 3

Services 52 for 1 at tea, a really solid position to be in. Trail by just 82 with nine wickets in hand

A fairly comfortable session for Saurashtra, though they lost the wicket of Shitanshu Kotak. Both Sheldon Jackson and Aarpit Vasavada have looked to attack, and they have been given some easy hits as well. At tea, Saurashtra 216/4

2.30pm - UP finally get a wicket It's Imtiaz Ahmed with the ball too. Traps Anshul Gupta lbw. Services a healthy 44 for 1, trailing by just 90 now

2.25pm - Fifty for Jackson Says Sid Ravindran: "Sheldon Jackson completes an agressive half-century, studded with powerful cuts as Karnataka's spinners have dropped it short several times. Soon after Saurashtra reach 200. Once again, there is no sustained spell of pressure from Karnataka's bowlers."

2.15pm - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

There was more noise from the Karnataka dressing room than from any of the fans here this morning. Now a few of them watching seem to have found their voice, "Hey Robin, hey Robin," they shout, besides much else in Gujarati that I don't understand

2.05pm - Abhishek watches it slip through UP's hands

Not UP's day. Services batting without worry. The pitch is not doing as much as it was in the morning. However, it is still not easy to bat on. UP are not helping themselves by putting down catches, now Piyush Chawla at second slip dropping Nakul Verma off Imtiaz. Services 24 for 0

2pm - Tea update from Amol in Jamshedpur Ten minutes to go to tea, and Ishank Jaggi and Rameez Nemat appear to be in little trouble. And they're scoring freely as well. Jharkhand 160 for 3, Nemat 79, Jaggi 33

PS: This is an extended session to make up for lost time in the morning, so we will have tea at 2.40pm in Jamshedpur too

1.50pm - UP drop one Services opener Anshul Gupta dropped by a diving keeper in front of first slip. Services 17 for 0

1.34pm - Fifty for Tendulkar With a straight six off left-arm spin of Bhargav Bhatt, Tendulkar reaches 53, off 105 balls, five fours and a six. Mumbai 138 for 2

1.32pm - Abhishek in Indore

Services going straight into a huddle at the edge of the boundary before walking into the dressing room. UP straight into catching practice with four slips

1.30pm - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

The immovable Shitanshu Kotak has been dismissed. Rahul gets another catch at slip, his third of the day and that was his best of the day, shoulder high and to his left. Saurashtra 152/4. In nearly an hour after lunch, Kotak had added only four runs to his total.

1.26pm - UP bowled out for 134 Suraj Yadav manages to get No. 11 Sudeep Tyagi caught at the wicket. Imtiaz Ahmed finishes with an unbeaten 53 off 35. They were 76 for 8 at one stage. Are these the match-winning runs?

Says AP: "And that is the end of the fun. Tyagi flails at a Suraj Yadav delivery and the appeal for caught behind is upheld. UP 134, in 38.4 overs. The final pair has added 34 in four overs. Imtiaz unbeaten on 53"

1.25pm - Sid Ravindran from Rajkot

Sheldon Jackson began the session with a pull for four off Abhimanyu Mithun, and hasn't been too troubled since. Shitanshu Kotak continues to leave as many as he can outside off, but has been using his feet well to the spinners. Saurashtra 147 for 3. Kotak 46 not out

1.20pm - Imatiaz counterattacks Says Abhishek Purohit: "Imtiaz Ahmed, UP's highest wicket-taker, showing his team-mates how it is done with the bat. Shadab Nazar has taken five wickets to have UP nine down, and Imtiaz has just taken his previous over for 17. He's slogged six after six, has been caught on the long-off boundary only for the fielder to step onto the rope, and we have had the strange scene of Services posting seven men in the deep to the last pair. Seven men! Imtiaz 51 off 31, four sixes and three fours. UP 132 for 9. The UP dressing room is enjoying every moment, they can't believe it, Services continue to have most men in the deep, and they still can't stop Imtiaz"

1.17pm - Amol in Jamshedpur

Nemat flicks Taruwar Kohli through square leg for a boundary to raise his fifty and the team's hundred
Yes, Amol, Rameez Nemat has been Jharkhand's most reliable batsman this season. Good to see him scoring runs against a big team too

1.15pm - Fifty for Jaffer The big man has arrived in the big matches. Gtes to his fifty with a sharp single wide of mid-on. Quiet raise of the bat. He has eyes set on a big one. Fifty off 133 balls, six fours, one six

1.10pm - Ladda spins a web Says Amol: "Ladda strikes again! And this time, it's the prize scalp of Saurabh Tiwary. The left-hand batsman tries to glide a flipper to the on-side on the back foot, fails to connect and finds himself trapped in front of the wicket. 97 for 3"

1.05pm - Five for Nazar Shadab Nazar has now got Ankit Rajpoot caught at the wicket. UP 100 for 9. Imtiaz not out on 23 off 20 balls, with two sixes

1pm - Tendulkar slows down Tendulkar was 23 off 32 at one stage, but he has slowed down now to have scored five runs off 49 subsequent balls. However, he has not looked in ay trouble at all.

PS: He has just lofted one over mid-on to enter the 30s. Chants of "Sa-chin, Sa-chin"

Jaffer, meanwhile, has had another edgy moment, when he cut and edged it just wide of slip. He is 42 off 121. Mumbai 97 for 2

12.55pm - UP lose another In Indore, Shadab nazar now has four wickets with Ali Murtaza gone lbw, but Imtiaz Ahmed has begun to hit out, scoring 17 off 13 balls

12.50pm - Amol again

And Sarabjit Ladda succeeds in setting up Manish Vardhan. The batsman charges down the wicket but misses a straight one to his off stump being shattered. And the long wait for checking if his foot landed correctly is over as it's ruled to be a legal delivery. Jharkhand 85 for 2.

12.40pm - Amol in Jamshedpur

Manish Vardhan plays the shot of the day so far, a cover drive off Gony that races to the boundary line. Ladda, meanwhile, is tightening the noose around Rameez Nemat at the other end, effectively using his drifter and wrong'uns. Jharkhand 79 for 1

Modimania in Rajkot © Siddarth Ravindran

Several dozen people watching the game, many of whom seem to be students from the university, where the ground is. One of them is clearly not a student - Kantibhai a local mechanic who has turned up wearing the famous Narendra Modi mask. Narendra Modi himself is expected to be at the Khandheri stadium around this time to inaugurate it.

Noon - Lunch updates Mumbai go to lunch at 77 for 2. Tendulkar has slowed down a little, but hasn't looked in any trouble. He is 25 off 64. Jaffer is looking good too, after having survived an adjacent lbw early on. He is 30 off 97

In Rajkot, it is lunch at the same score of 113 for 3

In Indore, another wicket heralds lunch. Says AP: "And 'Lloyd', in trying to smash another boundary, thick-edges Nishan to first slip. Chawla out for 28 off 30. And that will be lunch. UP 76 for 7 in 29.3 overs. The armed forces out in full force"

11.55am - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

It's quite a charming ground in Rajkot actually, though the infrastructure is a bit basic. It is in the leafy Saurashtra University campus and ringed with trees. The fears of an underprepared wicket have also proved unfounded. On the minus side, the outfield is bumpy, the dressing room isn't too comfortable and I can't see any SuperSopper. Saurashtra 113 for 2. Kotak 42 not out

PS: "Mithun returns for his second spell and gets another wicket.Once again a breakthrough when the batsmen have looked comfortable. And this isn't a shot Jaydev Shah will recall fondly. The ball was well away from his body and he poked at it to give a catch to gully. Saurashtra 113 for 3"

11.50am - Abhishek in Indore

Piyush Chawla, UP's "Clive Lloyd" according a journalist from the state, as he knows only one style of batting, crashes Suraj Yadav over vacant extra cover, then check-drives him down the ground before smashing him past mid-off. Around 50 spectators at the ground, most of them around square leg, where they can sit in the sun. It is rumoured that as lunch time approaches, the number of people watching the game increases at the Holkar Stadium, and decreases after the food has been had. UP 65 for 6. Chawla 21 not out

11.45am

@Sidharth Monga: Rayudu is in for Baroda. Does that mean his chances of getting picked for India for the ODI's vs England slim? If he does get selected, will he be available for Baroda in the fourth innings? Your thoughts please!

Papi Reddy, that is a fascinating scenario. What if, for example, India pick Cheteshwar Pujara and Ambati Rayudu for the ODIs against England, which start on the 11th, a day after RT quarters finish? To make it interesting, what if we have no first-innings result on the first five days, and we have to go into a sixth? I think Pujara has a clear advantage here, being in Rajkot already, but surely this is something the selectors will consider. And I hope the players don't leave their Ranji teams should they be called up with their matches still alive

11.38am - More from Abhishek in Indore

Another one gone. Poor stroke. Even poorer considering the team position. Arish Alam standing in the crease and guiding a back of a length ball into the hands of second slip. Nazar's figures 7-2-14-3. UP 50 for 6

11.35am - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

As usual in Ranji games, especially in smaller grounds, the fans finding it difficult to know who is batting and what the score is. We've been asked by several people already what the score is, and who is in the middle. Karnataka have already used three spinners - K Gowtham, KP Appanna and Amit Verma. So 30 overs bowled in two hours play. Calls off "be patient, be patient" from the Karnataka dressing room as Gowtham continues in the 31st over. Also, scorers aren't sure of names of the two ends, since this is the first Ranji game being played here

Re the score, it doesn't help that the scoreboard at the ground is this

11.30am - Lunch in east It's lunch in Jamshedpur, and here is an update from Amol: "Rameez Nemat and Manish Vardhan have avoided any further damage after Akash Verma's early loss. Jharkhand 70 for 1."

Will these matches (knockout matches from here on) go into the 6th day if there is no result in 5 days?

Abhijit, that's only if we haven't had a first-innings result by the end of five days

11.25am - Abhishek making sense of collapse in Indore

All happening in Indore, and Services making a mockery of pre-match reputations, as they had promised they would. Dwivedi, the wicketkeeper, promoted up to No 4, given lbw off Shadab Nazar, although he was hit high on the pad, and stared at umpire Saheba's raised finger for some before leaving. In his next over, Nazar took out Parvinder Singh whose cut was snapped up superbly by Suraj Yadav at gully. To make it a horrid morning for UP, Suraj, who changed ends, got Srivastatav to push at a length ball outside off, and the veteran keeper Sarabjit Singh made no mistake. UP 43 for 5 after 24 overs. It's not all over, though. There is a grass cover throughout, with lots of bounce from good length, some seam as well. UP have the bowlers to exploit these conditions

Was appalled to see Mumbai get away with the attempted manipulation in the last league match. Early indications are that they are in for a shock exit. Cannot be good for the team morale, & have a feeling Baroda are going to come hard, pumped up since Mumbai clearly indicated they were the weakest team..

Rags, I will need to correct you here. Mumbai didn't manipulate. They basically knew that for teams finishing and second it wouldn't make any difference, as the BCCI's playing conditions said that the quarter-finals for teams finishing second and third will be decided by lots. I still don't condone their not going for the win, but they basically knew the win wasn't going any difference to the lots. Poor form, BCCI

Meanwhile, Tendulkar has already overtaken Jaffer, and has reached 23 off 32. He looks solid and threatening. Mumbai 66 for 2, Jaffer 21 off 73

11.20am - Updates from Rajkot and Indore Says Sid Ravindran: "Big wicket in Rajkot. Gowtham gets rid of key batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who flicks it to leg slip, gone for an attractive 37 off 49 balls during which he didn't look too troubled. Saurashtra slip to 68/2. New batsman is Jaydev Shah"

Says Amol: "The crowd has swollen to about 500-odd. And their wish finally turns into reality as Harbhajan Singh introduces himself in the 2th over. Every ball that he bowls is being cheered. But Rameez Nemat and Manish Vardhan are undeterred. Jharkhand 63 for 1"

11.15am - Services stun UP Shadab nazar, Nishan Singh and Suraj Yadav are all over UP. The top five are gone. UP 40 for 5. The story of the morning

11.10am - UP in more trouble Eklawya Dviwedi gone now. It's Shadab Nazar with the wicket. UP 39 for 3

11.05am - Spinners

As someone who's followed this Ranji season closely, can you tell me if there's at least one spinner in India who's good enough to play test cricket?

Cris, I know this will not be taken well, but Harbhajan Singh still remains the best attacking spinner in India (if he can go back to being the attacking bowler he was). The thing is, we know Harbhajan is clearly off his best, so we know he is capable of better. You can't say the same about Ashwin and Ojha from whatever we have seen. Hopefully their best is much better than whatever they have shown us so far. Among other spinners, we have Jalaj Saxena (who bowls a containing line) and Shahbaz Naddem (who has got wickets in Group C). And that's almost that. Still I am sure they are better choices than Piyush Chawla

11am - Amol in Jamshedpur

Spin is introduced in the 19th over in the form of leggie Sarabjit Ladda. And in the next over, we see the unusual site of five runs being awarded. Amitoze Singh's gentle medium pacer slips through Uday Kaul's gloves and thuds on to the helmet behind him. Jharkhand 46 for 1

Meanwhile, Tendulkar looks in some touch. Moving feet well, and driving well, moving to 8 with a straight push-drive between the umpire and the non-striker. He averages more than 90 in Ranji Trophy. Mumbai 44 for 2, Jaffer 14

10.55am - Drinks in Rajkot Says Sid Ravindran: "The first drinks break in Rajkot. Saurashtra are 48/1 and Pujara is looking in good touch, racing away to 24 off 28. He just took 14 off the final over before the break, with three fours off Stuart Binny. Quite a bumpy outfield, awkward bounces as it rolls past the outfield"

And this is a picture of the outfield in Rajkot

The makeshift dressing room at the Saurashtra University Ground, Rajkot, January 6, 2013
That's the dressing room in Rajkot. In 2013  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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10.50am - Drinks in Indore Says Abhishek Purohit: "The UP opener Tanmay Srivastava has been solid. It is not remotely that kind of pitch where you can leave a few deliveries, size up the pitch and start hitting boundaries. Srivastatava has left very well, his soft hands have ensured a couple of edges didn't carry to gully, and he's chosen the really overpitched ones to drive. UP 34 for 2, and drinks are on the field"

10.45am - Time for some SRT Bhargav Bhatt has got Hiken Shah caught cutting. That emans it is time for Sachin Tendulkar to bat. Out he comes, with the Mumbai short and a helmet with an India flag. And he is off the mark with a push past cover first ball

10.40am - All about Harbhajan in Jamshedpur Says Amol: "'Paaji, bowling karo,' orders a spectator to Harbhajan as he prepares for resumption of play after the drinks break. But it seems the Punjab captain is not going to pay any heed to the crowd's demand, with the wicket assisting seam bowlers, at least for the time being. Jharkhand 28 for 1."

10.35am - Sid Ravindran in Rajkot

Mithun troubling the batsmen here with some pace and a bit of bounce, Shitanshu Kotak was stuck on the crease as he edged one down to the third man boundary and later in the over Pujara awkwardly sends one past the keeper for four amid cries of "catch it" - 26 for 1

10.30am - UP lose another Nishan Singh keeps striking. He has got Mohammad Kaif now. He is gone lbw. UP 32 for 2

10.25am - While on Karanataka against teams from Gujarat Abhishek Purohit has memory of an elephant: "There is something about Karnataka and knockouts. Before the 2010-11 semi-final, against Baroda, they were under the impression that the game was to be played at the regular first-class venue, Moti Bagh. While changing flights in Mumbai en route to Vadodara, the team found out that the match was in fact to be held at the IPCL ground on the outskirts of the city. I think a stunned Karnataka lost the semi-final at Mumbai airport itself; the game last one-and-a-half days on a brute of a turner"

10.20am - No umpire can save Pawar Caught dead in front of the crease to an inswinger from Vahora, Kaustubh Pawar is plumb. Mumbai 23 for 1

10.16am - Drama in Mumbai too Foreign umpires make no difference. Wasim Jaffer has sruvived a pretty adjacent lbw call with the ball swinging in from left-arm quick Gagandeep Singh. Holdstock lets him off. Jaffer is 7 not out, and Mumbai 19. This could be crucial

10.15am - A slightly bigger number in Jamshedpur Says Amol: "With Harbhajan being the crowd puller, 100-odd spectators have turned out. And they have started making their presence felt with 'Bhajji, Bhajji' chants. Jharkhand 17 for 1

Drama in Rajkot, though. Says Sid R: "There's the breakthrough, and what a dramatic one that is. Abhimanyu Mithun has broken the off stump in two with a full delivery and Sagar Jogiyani is one for 9. One of the officials here runs out with a new stump. There's a brief delay before Jogiyani walks off as they check for the no-ball. Mithun's okay and the new batsman is the star of these parts, Cheteshwar Pujara . Saurashtra 13 for 1."

10.10am - Hangover after heady final round The last round of the league stages was a ripper, a beauty I always anticipate and wait for, but I wonder if that is as good as it gets. Sample this from Abhishek in Indore: "Ranji quarter-final, and not even 20 people watching it on a Sunday morning. This is a neutral venue all right, but why can't such important matches be publicised? Some hoardings around the city, some ads on the local TV channels, but no, it just feels like something that has to be got out of the way."

10.05am - Mystery track remains a mystery Says Sid Ravindran: "Doesn't seem to be much in the track so far. The batsmen have had a comfortable time with Abhimanyu Mithun and HS Sharath bowling. Sagar Jogiyani and Shitanshu Kotak in the middle. Saurashtra 9/0 in six overs. Repeated shouts of 'Bowled Mandhya,' when Sharath is bowling, a reference to the town he hails from."

10am - Services off too Says Abhishek: "Services strike. There has been serious bounce from a good length on the green pitch, and Nishan Singh has got a lifter to take Mukul Dagar's outside edge and fly to the wicketkeeper. UP 8 for 1. ohammad Kaif, stand-in captain, comes in and is away first ball with a clip for two through midwicket"

9.55am - Abhishek Purohit can finally communicate

Indore is bitterly cold at the moment, as is most of the country, apart from places like Mumbai, which are never cold. The sun is out shining brightly, though, and there is no haze. Services have three slips standing very close to each other, and a gully, but Tanmay Srivastava and Mukul Dagar have batted safely so far. UP 3 for 0 in the 5th over

9.52am - A day for Siddarths and Gautams? Siddarth Kaul has taken the first wicket of the Ranji quarter-finals. "Gets one to nip back in, and finds Akash Verma in front of the wicket with the last ball of the fourth over," says Amol Karhadkar. Jharkhand 12 for 1

9.50am - Neutral venue blues in Indore Says Abhishek Purohit: "I am the only one in the Indore press box, along side the scorer, who, faced with unknown teams, has little clue who is batting and who is bowling and has no walkie-talkie either. Wi-fi non-existent. Data card warming up for the day" Supreme scenes all around

9.40am - Siddarth Ravindran from Rajkot

It's a chilly morning in Rajkot, where much of the Saurashtra Cricket administration is busy with arrangements for the inauguration of their brand new stadium at Khandheri. The Ranji quarter-final is taking place at the less modern Saurashtra University Ground. It is the first first-class match at this ground and the Karnataka team manager feels that perhaps this game should have been played in Bangalore, since both of Rajkot's international-standard stadiums are unavailable. The ground doesn't have much in terms of stands and only makeshift dressing rooms. When I arrived in the morning, the auto rickshaw dropped me off just behind the sight screen

9.30am A smallish crowd in at the Wankhede where Baroda have begun with a maiden to Wasim Jaffer. Adrian Holdstock from South Africa is one of the umpires for the game

This match is live on TV

9.20am Mumbai have given a debut to Vishal Dabholkar, which means they are playing an extra bowler. Tendulkar is back as we all know

Manish Pandey and KP Appanna back for Karnataka, replacing G Satish and Syed Moinuddin. Sagar Jogiyani in for Saurashtra

The big loss for Punjab is that Sandeep Sharma is out with a shoulder injury

Piyush Chawla is back for UP, but no Praveen Kumar yet

For Jharkhand, Tiwary is fit again.

For Baroda, the big news is that Ambati Rayudu is back

9.10am As we await the toss and team news, let me warm you up with the previews. In Rajkot, the hastily prepared ground and pitch were the focus because the main stadium is hosting an ODI. Jharkhand don't seen fazed by Punjab in Jamshedpur:

Shahbaz Nadeem, the Jharkhand skipper, tried his best to underplay the star factor. "If you see, barring Harbhajan Singh, a great spinner, there aren't many big names in the Punjab line-up," Nadeem, the most successful spinner this season, said. "And even our squad has three-four players who have experienced the big stage by being part of the IPL, so that shouldn't be a big factor."

Wankhede is hosting a clash of survivors. For Services it is a huge task in Indore:

Men in uniform do not like to leave anything to chance but Wing Commander Deepak Bhaskar, the Services manager, knows his side needs all the luck it can get. Services are up against a team so formidable it can afford to go without the services of several India players, for it still has another three of them, and a bunch of other solid performers. Punjab, with all their early-season dominance, may have grabbed the headlines, but Uttar Pradesh also racked up four outright wins in the group stage, the same as Punjab. UP are also one of only two unbeaten sides among the quarter-finalists, Mumbai being the other.

9.05am Fog in Jamshedpur has delayed the start by about half an hour. Remember in the east matches start half an hour early. So now we have the Jamshedpur game starting at the same time as others. Meanwhile Saurashtra have chosen to bat against Karnataka in Rajkot, and Services have put UP in in Indore

We have Siddarth Ravindran in Rajkot, Amol Karhadkar in Jamshedpur, Abhishek Purohit in Indore, and Srinivasan Raju's hawk eye on all venues

9am It's a Sunday. It can mean only one thing. Ranji Trophy is back in the house. It's time for the quarter-finals: Punjab v Jharkhand in Jamshedpur, UP v Services in Indore, Mumbai v Baroda in Mumbai and Saurashtra v Karnataka in Rajkot. Sachin Tendulkar is playing, so are Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara. There are the Ranji heroes too: Abhishek Nayar, Jiwanjot Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Aditya Waghmode, Abhimanyu Chauhan, CM Gautam, Stuart Binny and many others. The next five days promise much drama and excitement

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Pulikesin on (January 6, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

Comeon Karnataka, we'll definitely make it to the semis. Comeon Pawan. Kannada mathege saranu.

Posted by sandeep on (January 6, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

binny should've given 2 more spells to mithun and sharath instead of gautham n appanna.. hope he does'nt do this mistake tomorrow with new ball.. best of luck karnataka..

Posted by Deepak Odhekar on (January 6, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Do u publish only the mails about Karnataka team or only cricket fans of Karnataka write letters?This has been the tend ever since beginning... Be unbiased & impartial

Posted by krish on (January 6, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

JAIIIIIIIIIII SACHIN!!!!!! :)

Posted by asif javaid on (January 6, 2013, 12:55 GMT)

Congratulation to Jaffer bahi for another hundred and leveling hundred with ajay sharma i hope u will break in the next i m big fan of u and wish u returing for national side once again and u dersve really Asif from Pakistan

Posted by Pradeep Kumar Panda on (January 6, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar nudges one to fine of long leg for a couple to bring up his 18th Ranji and 80th first-class hundred... God is not finished yet... take a bow and salute...

Posted by Srinidhi on (January 6, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

Finally a wicket for Karnataka. SP Jackson played for his well made 83. Now it's time for Mithun & Sharath to take new ball & get some more wickets, might be 2 or 3 before the end of day's play.

Posted by ST on (January 6, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

come on sachin we need ur services in ODIs

Posted by Nithin on (January 6, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

Wasim Jaffer- what a professional !!! remember him uttering a player and continue batting when he got news of his Mother's death and now this performance when his father is in hospital. Hats off to you Jaffer !!!

Posted by Sachin on (January 6, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar is Playing his 300 first class match today and is nearing 80 first class century.

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