Ranji Trophy, 2003-04 December 10, 2003

Ajay Jadeja blazes an unbeaten 206

Elite Championship 5th Round

Baroda 25 for 1 trail Delhi 510 for 7 dec (Jadeja 206*, Manhas 57, Gambhir 52) by 485 runs
Baroda were on the receiving end of Ajay Jadeja's splendid double-century at Vadodara, as they chased leather for almost two full days. Jadeja began his comeback season in a lukewarm fashion, but in this innings he clattered 23 fours and two sixes to announce his return. Mithun Manhas and Gautam Gambhir notched up half-centuries as the Baroda bowlers were given no respite. And if Baroda thought things were bad when they fielded, they got slightly worse when Connor Williams was out just before the close.

Mumbai 300 for 7 (Mazumdar 85, Kambli 81*, Chandran 5-53) lead Kerala 165 by 135 runs Scorecard
Prasanth Chandran's fine display of medium-pace was not enough to prevent Mumbai from reaching a commanding position at the Wankhade Stadium. Amol Mazumdar and Vinod Kambli put on 116 in quick time and cracked 17 fours between them. However Mumbai let up towards the end of the day when three quick wickets went down, one of them being the crucial run-out of Mazumdar for 85.

Punjab 157 for 3 (Yuvraj 80) trail Railways390 (Gagandeep 5-61) by 233 runs
When the second day's play began at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi, Punjab were staring down the barrel. But an inspired spell by Gagandeep Singh restricted Railways to under 400 - something they wouldn't have envisaged after Tejinder Pal's savagery yesterday. Yuvraj Singh, in his new role as opener, delivered a fitting riposte as he blasted 80 off only 81 balls with 15 fours and a six. Dinesh Mongia drove in a lower gear for his 37, but both fell before the end of play with Punjab still 233 runs in arrears.

Andhra 112 for 5 (Gnaneswara Rao 55*) trail Uttar Pradesh 267 (Raina 106, Pandey 97, Sahabbudin 5-67) by 155 runs
Suresh Raina and Gyanendra Pandey put on 181 for the fifth wicket, but only one other batsman reached double figures as Uttar Pradesh put up an indifferent batting display at Kanpur. Syeb Sahabbudin proved to be Andhra's wrecker-in-chief with a splendid 5 for 67. Andhra themselves slumped to 14 for 3, and then 33 for 4, before Gnaneswara Rao's 55 gave a semblence of respectability to the total. Ashish Zaidi rocked the Andhra batting with three wickets.

Bengal 153 for 3 (Das 72*) trail Hyderabad 252 (Khaleel 66, Chatterjee 8-54) by 99 runs
Utpal Chatterjee polished off the tail and finished with dream figures as Bengal took control on the second day at Kolkota. Ibrahim Khaleel added only 16 runs to his overnight score, and was one of the victims of Chatterjee's wiles. Then Arindam Das, the opener, anchored the innings with a patient unbeaten 72. Rohan Gavaskar, Bengal's captain, chipped in with 36. Shivaji Yadav's offspin claimed three wickets, but the rest of the Hyderabad bowlers had nothing show for their efforts.

Gujarat 188 for 9 (Christian 56, Mathur 5-49) trail Rajasthan 259 by 71 runs
Gujarat were cruising at 113 for 1 with Akash Christian and Niraj Patel firmly entrenched at Jaipur, but that was when S Mathur pulled the trigger. He tore through the middle order with five wickets, and Gujarat crumbled to 188 for 9. Lalti Patel had ensured that Rajasthan were restricted to 259 - his 4 for 55 was the highlight of a dogged bowling effort.

Tamil Nadu 310 and 99 for 2 (Suresh 50*) lead Assam 134 by 275 runs
It took just 49.1 overs for Tamil Nadu to demolish Assam's batting resistance at Chennai, with Ramakrishnan Ramkumar spinning his web and continuing his great season. D Tamilkumaran and C Ganapathy, both medium-pacers, took two wickets each as Assam found big partnerships hard to come by. Their cup of woe was completely filled when Somasetty Suresh, the TN captain, hit a fine unbeaten fifty to take his side 275 runs in front by the close.

Plate Championship Third Round

Jammu and Kashmir 7 for 2 trail Tripura 235 (Jaiswal 66, Chanda 50) by 228 runs
Tripura were restricted to 235 on the second day at Jammu after rain allowed only 7.2 overs yesterday. Ranjib Jaiswal and Timir Chanda slammed half-centuries, but the rest frittered away good starts. In fact all the first eight batsmen reached double figures, but only two kicked on to a big score. J&K lost two wickets in their reply, and the low-scoring trend could well continue through the match.

Bihar 337 for 9 (Rajiv Kumar 125, Dhoni 68) lead Vidharbha 244 by 93 runs
Rajiv Kumar was the model of patience as Bihar established their ascendancy at Nagpur. MS Dhoni and Shahid Khan (49*) came up with valuable contributions and supported Rajiv at different stages. Madusudhan Acharya - who is having a great season - picked up four wickets.

Maharashtra 121 for 1 trail Goa 326 (Phadke 78) by 205 runs
Kashinath Khadkikar, the offspinner, shattered Goa's visions of a massive total at Pune as the last seven wickets fell for 126. Mandar Phadke could add only 10 runs to his overnight score, and though Somashekhar Shiruguppi and Shadab Jakati both hit 31, they couldn't convert it to sizeable scores. Maharashtra delivered a strong reply with the top three batsmen in the thick of things.

Orissa 246 and 121 for 2 lead Himachal Pradesh 116 (Mangaraj 7-42) by 251 runs
Deepak Mangraj's medium-pace proved too hot for the HP batsmen to handle and they collapsed for only 116 in their first innings at Cuttack. Barring Amit Sharma and Maninder Bisla, none of the batsmen passed 20 and most of them ended up with single-digit scores. Orissa proved that batting can be a lovely profession when they batted again, and Shiv Sunder Das and Subrat Behara put on 74 for the first wicket.

Services 138 for 5 (Yashpal 59*) trail Saurashtra 214 (Bhatt 93, Fazil 5-58) by 76 runs
After succumbing to Fazil Mohammad's medium-pace at Delhi, Saurashtra got themselves back into the match by snapping up five Services wickets. Yashpal Singh's 59 was the sole highlight, as the bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals. Earlier, Saurashtra's total was built due to gritty innings from Prakash Bhatt (93) and Rakesh Dhruv (58).

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is on the staff of Wisden Cricinfo in India.