Teenagers Gill and Anmolpreet run amok for Punjab
It was a phenomenal batting day in Amritsar, led by Punjab's 18-year old opener Shubman Gill. He struck 129 off only 142 balls. Ninety-four of those runs came in boundaries. What a way to score a maiden first-class century.
If that was impressive, 19-year old Anmolpreet Singh, who made his debut earlier this season, went to stumps having secured his third hundred in five first-class games. He has already shown the capability to occupy the crease for an immensely long time - Chattisgarh were flayed for 267 runs four weeks ago and Services may be worried about facing a similar fate. Their bowlers could only pick up two wickets in 90 overs.
Considering that, Manan Vohra would feel highly disappointed that he could make only 3. Each of his team-mates who went out to bat racked up at least a fifty with Jiwanjot Singh retiring hurt on 54 and Gurkeerat Singh was unbeaten on 68.
Centuries from Shreevats Goswami (139) and Anustup Majumdar (107*) helped Bengal brush a top-order collapse aside as they finished on 305 for 5 against Goa on the first day at Eden Gardens. Their 213-run fifth-wicket partnership proved all the more vital because it came in a match that will determine their progress into the quarter-finals. A first-innings lead will see them through, but it looked an unlikely event when they were 79 for 4.
Goa were on top early on, after Felix Alemao and Lakshay Garg dismantled Bengal's top order in the first hour. Abhishek Raman, Sudip Chatterjee and the captain Manoj Tiwary were all out for binary scores for 1, 1 and 0. Abhimanyu Easwaran departed after a fighting 46.
Goswami and Majumdar stemmed the rot and batted for more than 50 overs - hitting 33 fours between them - to complete Bengal's recovery. Left-arm spinner Amulya Pandrekar finally broke the partnership in the 80th over after which Writtick Chatterjee (6*) and Majumdar batted through to stumps.
The pendulum swung one way and then the other in other game in Nagpur, with Himachal Pradesh, still in with a shot to qualify for the knockouts, finishing on 287 for 6. The experienced Rishi Dhawan was at the crease on 57 not out - the second fifty of the innings after captain Sumeet Verma's 66. But Vidarbha, who are already though to the quarter-finals, had held the upper hand, yanking the opposition down from 70 for 1 to 70 for 3 and then from 142 for 3 to 190 for 6.
Rajneesh Gurbani was key to the day see-sawing as it did. The 24-year old seamer picked up two wickets in successive overs, and later came back to pick up the final wicket of the day. That, though, happened in the 61st over. Dhawan and Akash Vasisht shut the door on Vidarbha with a 97-run unbroken stand but the fight will resume again on day two.