Bahutule and Ramkumar share days honours
Mumbai 15 for 0 trail Delhi 199 (Gambhir 96, Bahutule 5-45, Kulkarni 4-62) by 184 runs
With the return of Ashish Nehra and Akash Chopra, Delhi began their match against Mumbai in an upbeat mood. But they frittered away the advantage of batting first by crumbling to a modest 199 all out. Gautam Gambhir's sparkling 96 off just 115 balls was the lone star on a day when Sairaj Bahutule and Nilesh Kulkarni snared nine wickets between them. Gambhir's knock included 11 fours and one six, but Ajay Jadeja and Akash Chopra were disappointments. Mumbai's other hero of the day was Vinayak Samant, the wicketkeeper, who collected five dismissals on a turning track. On a wearing pitch the spinners may dictate terms for the rest of the match and Sarandeep Singh will be called upon to restrict the much vaunted Mumbai batting lineup.
Uttar Pradesh 233 for 3 (Prakash 134*, Yadav 72) v Punjab
The Uttar Pradesh openers sent Punjab on a leather hunt with R.Prakash stroking an unbeaten century and Jyoti Yadav, the captain, supporting him with a fine 72. Prakash smashed 13 fours and one six and the 197 runs opening stand ensured a solid base which UP could build on. The Punjab bowlers were given some rough treatment and if not for the spinners' economical spells, UP would have rattled up a bigger total. Three wickets fell towards the close of play and the Punjab spinners ensured that the game did not run away.
Tamil Nadu 115 for 5 lead Rajasthan 97 (Ramkumar 4-41) by 18 runs
For Somasetty Suresh - captain of Tamil Nadu - it was a day of extremes. He won the toss and gave his bowlers first use of a hard pitch that had a smattering of green and was later out for a first-ball duck. But his bowlers put Tamil Nadu in a commanding position when Rajasthan were skittled out for a meagre 97. L. Balaji had a splendid day (3 for 26) and Ramkumar (4 for 41) continued where he had left off against Karnataka - 10 for 104 in the match. The runs were completely dried up by some accurate bowling and Rajasthan may have to play catch-up cricket from now on. The Tamil Nadu batsmen also found the going tough with only S.Badrinath leading the way with a gritty 43. On a bowler-friendly pitch where a fifty will be priceless, Tamil Nadu finished the first day with the loss of only five wickets.
Railways 243 for 8 (Ananthapadmanabhan 4-34) v Kerala
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the top three Railways batsmen failed to capitalise on good starts. All three gave it away in the forties and Ananthapadmanabhan's wiles were too hot for the middle order to handle. Sanjay Bangar spent nearly four hours in the middle for his 45 while Tejindar Pal Singh lightened up the proceedings with a quickfire 40. Shreyas Khandolkar remained unbeaten with a patient 42 and Railways will hope the tail wags as long as it can tomorrow. After the flogging they received against the Punjab batsmen, the Kerala bowlers had a very good day and will hope their batsmen take the advantage.
Karnataka 126 for 0 (Rowland 57*, Arunkumar 50*) v Bengal
Heavy overnight rain delayed the start of play and only 46 overs were bowled on the first day of the second round match at Mandya. Both the Karnataka openers, J. Arunkumar and Barrington Rowland, notched up half-centuries and set the platform for a big first-innings total. Bengal, who had lost their previous match against Rajasthan, found the going very tough and none of the six bowlers that were used tasted any success. Karnataka too suffered a loss in their first match, but the bright start augurs well for a fruitful campaign.
Gujarat 32 for 2 trail Assam 180 (Saravanan 58, Majumdar 5-47) by 148 runs
Bowling his right-arm medium-pace with great control, Hitesh Majumdar ripped through Assam's middle and lower order to help bowl them out for just 180 in 65.5 overs on the first day at Guwahati. Assam's batsmen just could not get a partnership going, and the only two batsmen to cross 50 - Subhrajit Saikia with 56 and Vasant Saravanan with 58 - stayed together for just 39 runs. After Saikia's dismissal - the fourth wicket with the score on 103 - batsmen proceeded regularly to and from the pavilion. Their bowlers, however, succeeded to some extent to getting their side back into the game. As many as six of them turned their arm over before stumps, and Gautam Dutta snapped up two of them. What Assam really needed on the day, however, was the type of batting resilience that Gujarat's Akash Christian, who made an unbeaten 15 off 83 balls, displayed.
Andhra 13 for 1 trail Baroda 216 (Gaekwad 68, Verma 3-38) by 203 runs
The Baroda batsmen enacted a script similar to the first day against Mumbai last week. They were dismissed for 216 with only S.Gaekwad sticking around for a patient 68. Nayan Mongia too contributed but gave it away once he had made 31. Andhra were rewarded for some disciplined bowling with Kalyan Krishna and Vikram Verma picking up three wickets each. Baroda can ill afford losing two matches on the trot, but their batsmen surendered the initiative on the very first day.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is on the staff of Wisden Cricinfo.