Ranji Trophy, Elite Group, 2nd round, 3rd day November 18, 2004

Agarkar gives Mumbai hope

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Elite Group

Madhya Pradesh 255 and 99 for 5 lead (Bundela 59*) Mumbai 233 (Agarkar 84, Kambli 68, Sunil Dholpure 5-68) by 121 runs

At the end of the third day, this tense encounter was finely poised. Mumbai needed five wickets to bat again, and Madhya Pradesh were only 121 runs ahead. Mumbai, 87 for 5 at one stage, eventually fell for 233. They conceded first-innings points to Madhya Pradesh. Their innings ended when Ajit Agarkar was out last for 84. Vinod Kambli had fallen earlier in the day for his overnight score of 68. Sunil Dholpure had figures of 5 for 68. Then Agarkar and Shinde prised out four wickets for 13 runs, before Devendra Bundela resisted them with 59 not out.

Uttar Pradesh 136 (Amir 62, Ramkumar 6-47) and 5 for 0 trail Tamil Nadu 353 by 212 runs

When Uttar Pradesh's openers came out to bat for the second time in the day, it rounded up a dismal day where they scored only 139 runs and lost ten wickets. Tamil Nadu enforced the follow-on after bundling them out for 136, with Ramakrishnan Ramkumar claiming 6 for 47. Only Amir Khan, the wicketkeeper, could resist the Tamil Nadu attack with 62. Well on top now, Tamil Nadu will have only themselves to blame if the game is drawn. They scored 353 runs in 174.4 overs - a run-rate of just over 2 - in nearly two days.

Gujarat 330 and 124 for 2 (Christian 57) lead Karnataka 272 (Joshi 54) by 182 runs

Gujarat built a healthy lead over Karnataka going in to the final day of the encounter. At stumps they were 124 for 2 after a rescue effort by Karnataka's lower order took them to 272. Sunil Joshi played an instrumental role with 54, and he was supported well by Dodda Ganesh, who remained unbeaten on 23. Gujarat replied with a century stand between the openers. Nilesh Modi scored 44 and Akash Christian ran up 57 before both fell in the space of nine runs.

Assam 213 (Sukhvinder 59, Gagandeep 6-41, Navdeep 4-39) and 146 for 7 trail Punjab 422 by 63 runs

If Assam were staring right down a long dark barrel at the end of the third day, Punjab had Gagandeep Singh and Navdeep Singh to thank. Gagandeep claimed 6 for 41 as Assam were bundled out for 213 in the first innings. Navdeep had figured of 4 for 39. Only Sukhvinder Singh could resist, with an attacking 59 off 62 balls. Assam were then asked to follow-on and struggled to 146 for 7. Rajesh Sharma struck twice, and then Gagandeep and Navdeep took over. They shared five wickets, but Sathiamoorty Saravanan was still there on 63, his second fighting knock of the match after 49 in the first innings.

Railways 348 and 137 for 4 (Pagnis 62*) lead Bengal 255 (Shukla 90*, Yadav 5-37) by 230 runs

After gaining the first-innings lead, Railways put the match further out of Bengal's reach by getting to 137 for 4 in their second innings after bundling them out for 255. Prakash Yadav played a big role in Bengal's demise, claiming 5 for 37. Laxmi Ratan Shukla stood tall with an unbeaten 90. Later, when Railways batted again, Amit Pagnis scored an unbeaten 62 - his second half-century of the game.

Andhra 266 for 7 (Sahabuddin 89*, Varma 80) trail Delhi 491 for 9 dec by 255 runs

Andhra recovered from a terrible start (18 for 4) and, though they were under the kosh for the rest of the day, reached 266 for 7. Satya Varma hit 80 and put on 118 runs for the 7th wicket with Khatib Sahabuddin, who was still standing on 89.

Maharashtra 328 for 4 (Marathe 110, Mohan 87*, Godbole 53) trail Baroda 446 by 118 runs

A strong reply by Maharashtra gave them a good chance of taking the first-innings lead. They reached 328 for 4, 118 runs behind Baroda. Marathe led the way with 110, and Niranjan Godbole scored 53. Both shared an opening stand worth 112. Later, Dhruv Mohan hit 13 fours in his unbeaten 87. He put on 135 runs with Marathe for the 4th wicket. A draw is on the cards, but the battle for the lead will be an interesting game within the game.