Ranji Trophy 2003-04 December 12, 2003

Bengal and Tamil Nadu register emphatic wins

Elite Championship Fifth Round

Bengal 388 beat Hyderabad 252 and 135 by an innings and 1 run
Hyderabad were shot out for 135, and Bengal tasted success for the first time this season with an innings victory at Kolkota. They were undone by the spin duo of Saurasish Lahiri (4-26) and Utpal Chatterjee (3-46). Chatterjee had stung them in the first innings too as he gobbled up eight batsmen and restricted Hyderabad to 252. Arindam Das (91) led the Bengal reply and got admirable support from the lower order, to give his side a 136-run lead. In the end it proved just enough to give them a bonus point with Andhra falling short of the mark by one run.

Tamil Nadu 310 and 277 for 6 dec beat Assam 134 and 187 (Saravanan 62, Kumaran 5-57) by 269 runs
It took just 10.2 overs for Tamil Nadu to clean up the Assam tail at Chennai, and to record their third victory of the season. Tamil Kumaran, the medium-pacer, finished with five wickets, including that of Vasanth Saravanan, whose 62 was the highest score by an Assam batsman in the match. Assam had fared even worse in the first innings as Ramakrishnan Ramkumar continued his great season with four wickets. Tamil Nadu had no such batting worries as five of their batsmen passed fifty in the match, with S Badrinath's quickfire 115 being the twinkling diamond among the pearls.

Delhi 510 for 7 dec drew with Baroda 223 and 286 for 3 (SS Parab 126, Martin 69*, Solanki 65)
Satyajit Parab's fine hundred, coupled with half-centuries from Jacob Martin and Rakesh Solanki, enabled Baroda hang on for a draw against Delhi at Vadodara. Following on after a brittle batting display yesterday, Baroda began shakily as Connor Williams fell for just 5. But Parab's 353-minute resistance, which included 12 fours and three sixes, was provided with good support, first from Solanki and then from Martin, as the Delhi bowlers were kept at bay. Martin had already scored 92 in the first innings as all fell around him, with Amit Bhandari (4-57) and Sarandeep Singh (3-45) sharing most of the spoils. All this came after a leather-hunt on the first two days, Ajay Jadeja (206*) starring in a run-riot, when Delhi built a huge total. But Delhi's bowlers couldn't force the issue, and they are still to taste victory this season.

Railways 390 and 114 for 4 (Pagnis 51*) drew with Punjab 472 (Kakkar 124*, Yadav 5-82)
Punjab's Ankur Kakkar completed a fighting hundred in the morning of the final day at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi and helped by Navdeep Singh (35) he ensured a draw. Railways replied with 114 for 4, with Amit Pagnis cashing in with a half-century, but the match petered out to a draw with Punjab gaining first-innings honours. That was something they would have hardly imagined after the first day, when Tejinder Pal Singh clobbered 168. Gagandeep Singh got them back in contention, with an inspired spell on the second morning and Yuvraj Singh's blitz (80 off 81 balls) strengthened their position. But it was Kakkar who helped Punjab nudge past the Railways total as Jai Prakash Yadav threatened to run through the middle order on the third evening.

Uttar Pradesh 267 and 223 (Raina 79, Sahabuddin 5-72) drew with Andhra 237 and 129 for 6
UP collected two points, by virtue of their first-innings lead, as they drew with Andhra at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. Reaching 253 in 30 overs was never on the cards, and Andhra lost six wickets before play was called off. Earlier, Suresh Raina hit 13 fours in his 79 and he was the only batsman to pass 30 in UP's second innings. Raina (106) starred in the first innings too, and along with Gyanendra Pandey (97) proved to be the two stars in an otherwise sorry batting exhibition. Andhra too had their heroes, Gnaseswara Rao hitting 111 in the first innings and Syeb Sahabuddin finishing with a match haul of 10 for 139.

Gujarat 196 (Mathur 6-52) and 176 for 4 (Niraj Patel 77*) beat Rajasthan 259 and 110 by 6 wickets
Niraj Patel helped Gujarat knock off the 79 runs that they required for victory at Jaipur, and register their second win of the season. He shared an unbeaten 66-run stand with Mukund Parmar (41*) as Rajasthan stumbled to their third defeat in as many matches. This reverse must surely be attributed to their batting collapse on the third day, when they fell for a paltry 110 in the face of disciplined bowling from Lalit Patel (3-25) and Siddharth Trivedi (3-33). S Mathur had helped them garner a crucial first-innings lead of 63 with a six-wicket haul. Rajasthan also batted responsibly first time round, with Vineet Saxena and Rahul Kanwat helping them to reach 259.

This match finished yesterday

Mumbai 350 (Kambli 102, Chandran 7-71) beatKerala 165 and 94 by an innings and 91 runs Scorecard
Kerala suffered an ignominious defeat at the Wankhede Stadium, and this historic first encounter with Mumbai turned out to be a forgettable experience. Mumbai added 50 in the morning, with Vinod Kambli completing a fine century. Kambli added 114 with Amol Mazumdar on the second day as Mumbai gained a 185-run lead. Prasanth Chandran's 7 for 71 was the only highlight of the match for Kerala. Then came the 50 overs when Munaf Patel (3-34) and Ramesh Powar - with exceptional figures of 4 for 16 in six overs - spat forth some venom and gained Mumbai a bonus point for their innings win.

Plate Championship Third Round

Tripura 235 and 266 for 8 dec (Mahesh 65, Kapoor 59, Jagtar 5-71) drew with Jammu and Kashmir 210 and 96 for 4
Tripura collected first-innings points as their match against J&K meandered to a tame draw at Jammu. J&K were set a near-impossible 292 runs in 41 overs and lost four wickets before play was called off. Tripura declared shortly after the fall of Ashish Kapoor, who hit eight fours and a six in his rapid 59. Sadagoppan Mahesh, formerly from Tamil Nadu, also contributed with a steady 65. Jagtar Singh was the pick of the J&K bowlers with five wickets.

Maharashtra 500 for 2 and 4 for 0 beat Goa 326 and 175 (Phadke 56, Khadkikar 5-51) by 10 wickets
Kashinath Khadkikar's five-wicket burst helped Maharashtra romp home to an emphatic 10-wicket win over Goa at Pune. After Maharashtra declared at their overnight total, Goa found themselves reduced to 80 for 6, before Mandar Phadke added an ounce of respectability. Khadkikar then got stuck into the lower order, and Maharashtra were left to score only two runs to wrap up the match. The hard work was done on the second day when Kaushik Aphale (215) and Hrishikesh Kanitkar (123) bludgeoned the Goa bowlers all around the park. Dheeraj Jadhav - who had made a double-century in the previous match - fell 11 short of another century and Maharashtra finished on a round 500.

Services 216 and 107 for 4 drew with Saurashtra 214 and 201 for 9 dec 216 (Dhruv 51)
Services came away with two points as their match against Saurashtra at Delhi finished in a draw. Set a target of 200 in 46 overs, the Services batsmen were content to settle for first-innings honours and batted out 46 overs for the loss of four wickets. Saurashtra had earlier declared their innings after the fall of nine wickets with Rakesh Dhruv top-scoring with 51. Prakash Bhatt's 91 on the first day was the other notable performance of the match.

This match finished yesterday

Bihar 337 (Rajiv Kumar 124) and 55 for 3 beat Vidharbha 244 and 146 by 7 wickets
Shankar Rao finished with ten wickets in the match as Vidharbha plummeted to 146 in their second innings at Nagpur. Only Alind Naidu and AV Deshpande passed 20 in the second innings, and Vidharbha will take a few lessons from the Bihar batting display which was propped up by Rajiv Kumar's fine 124 and Mahendra Dhoni's 68. Chasing only 54 for victory Chandrashekar Atram threatened a minor miracle when he reduced Bihar to 15 for 3, before the two Kumars, Rajiv and Ratan, knocked off the 55 needed for victory with a day to spare.

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