Ranji Trophy 2003-04 November 23, 2003

Mumbai and Railways peg back opponents

Uttar Pradesh169 for 7 (Pandey 57*) v Mumbai
Uttar Pradesh were pegged back on the first day of their third-round Elite Group match against Mumbai at Lucknow. After choosing to bat, UP managed just 169 in the whole day, with only Gyanendra Pandey making his start count with a workmanlike half-century. The Mumbai opening bowlers, Swapnil Hazare and Robin Morris, picked up early wickets and had UP struggling at 36 for 3 at one point. The spinners choked the runs even more - Nilesh Kulkarni conceded only 27 runs in his 25 overs. Omkar Khanvilkar also had a good day, with 2 for 14 in his 14 overs.

Bengal 207 for 3 (Haldipur 79*, Chakraborty 58) v Tamil Nadu
Bengal put in a good batting performance, scoring 207 runs for the loss of only three wickets. Nikhil Haldipur spent nearly five hours in the middle and, along with AP Chakraborty, laid a solid foundation with a 119-run opening partnership. Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who had played two important innings in the last match, was promoted up the order and remained unbeaten on 34. Rain stopped play just after tea, but Bengal will be happy with their improved batting display after their feeble batting performances in the previous matches.

Rajasthan 111 for 5 trail Karnataka 145 by 34 runs
For the third match in a row, the KL Saini ground at Jaipur was a nightmare for all batsmen, as 15 wickets fell on the first day of this match. All the Rajasthan bowlers shared the wickets, with Sanjeev Sharma being the most successful with 3 for 39. Stuart Binny top-scored for Karnataka with 39, a contribution that may prove vital on this difficult surface. Rajasthan also suffered when they came out to bat, losing half their side for only 45 runs, with Venkatesh Prasad and Dodda Ganesh among the wickets. But Gagan Khoda hit an unbeaten 43, and has so far put on a priceless 66 with Rahul Kanwat (38*) to take them to a position of relative safety. Neither of the previous matches at Jaipur lasted the distance, and a quick finish is on the cards for this match too.

Delhi 194 for 8 (Manhas 62) v Railways
Delhi limped to 194 for 8 by the end of the first day against Railways. Mithun Manhas played a lone hand with a battling 62, while all fell around him. Harvinder Singh, Sanjay Bangar and Kulamani Parida picked up two wickets apiece to restrict Delhi.

Assam 230 for 3 (Saravanan 80*, Das 71) v Hyderabad
Vasanth Saravanan carried on his rich vein of form and helped Assam reach a commanding 230 for 3 at stumps on the first day against Hyderabad. PK Das also hit a half-century, while JS Yadav was the only bowler to make any impression, with 2 for 44. Saravanan's undefeated 80 contained 11 fours, and a big hundred from him tomorrow could give Assam a platform for their first win of the season.

Baroda 233 for 3 (Parab 54, Martin 80*) v Punjab
Baroda put up a good batting show to finish the first day at 233 for 3. Jacob Martin justified his decision to bat first with a well-compiled 80, and was still there at the close. Rishikesh Parab had earlier hit 54 to get Baroda off to a good start.

Plate Championship First Round

Vidharbha 254 for 8 v Tripura
All the Vidharbha batsmen got starts but none kicked on to get a big score as they finished the first day at 254 for 8. RS Paradkar and N Gawande both passed 40, but the Tripura bowling kept pegging away to pick up regular wickets. AR Kapoor was the most successful bowler with 4 for 82 in his 29 overs.

Goa 208 for 6 (Swapnil 119) v Orissa

Only three Goa batsmen passed 10 on the first day at Cuttack, but importantly AA Swapnil, the opener, scored a fine 119, studded with 20 fours, to prevent a total collapse. For Orissa, Debashish Mohanty and Bipin Singh picked up two wickets apiece.

Haryana 218 for 6 (Sunny 66, Ganda 57, Shafiq 59*) v Jammu & Kashmir
Haryana got off to a sedate start on the first day of the Plate A group match against Jammu & Kashmir. From an uncomfortable 26 for 2, three middle-order half-centuries took them to 218 for 6 by the close. Sunny top-scored with 66, while Ishan Ganda and Shafiq Khan both passed 50 as well. Sameer Khajuria, the J&K offspinner, was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

Services 182 for 4 (Reddy 66, Verma 55*) v Himachal Pradesh
Services crawled along at just over two an over on the first day of the Plate B match against Himachal Pradesh. MP Reddy hit 66 after batting for nearly five hours, while S Verma, the captain, was unbeaten at close of play with a dour 55.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is on the staff of Wisden Cricinfo in India