Ranji Trophy round-up, Elite Group, 1st day January 3, 2006

Ganguly stars with ball but TN fight back

Cricinfo staff

Bengal 32 for 3 trail Tamil Nadu218 (Badani 67) by 186 runs

Sourav Ganguly tore into the top order while Ranadeb Bose took care of the tail as Bengal, opting to bowl first on a green top, bowled out Tamil Nadu for 218 before struggling against the medium pace of Rajamani Jesuraj to reach 32 for 3 by the end of the opening day's play at the Eden Gardens. "I've never seen such a wicket while playing in India", Dinesh Kartik, TN's wicketkeeper, had said on the eve of the game and nearly all the batsmen struggled on it. Only Hemang Badani who stepped down from the captaincy, giving way to Subramaniam Badrinath, to concentrate on his batting, offered the lone resistance with a fighting 67 to lift TN to a competitive total. Ganguly, who was ordered by BCCI to play in this tie, trapped all his three victims in front before being suspended from bowling in the rest of the innings for straying on to the danger area too often. Bengal, with nine points from five games, will be hoping to grab as many points as they can and secure a semi-final spot while Tamil Nadu, will try to get at least two points to avoid being relegated to Plate. For Tamil Nadu Yo Mahesh, the India under-19 player, made his debut.

Karnataka231 for 6 (Rowland 81) v Delhi

A 97-run partnership between Barrington Rowland and Balachandra Akhil lifted Karnataka from dire straits at 134 for 5 to 231 for 6 by the end of opening day's play against Delhi at Bangalore. Virender Sehwag, ordered by BCCI to play in this game, struck twice to push the hosts on the back foot before Rowland came to the rescue with a patient 81. However, he fell late in the day to bring back Delhi into the frame; Sehwag will be hoping to bowl out the tail quickly on the second day while Karnataka's hopes of a big first-innings score rested on Akhil. It's a crucial tie for Delhi as they have only 6 points in five games and need at least 2 points from this tie to avoid the relegation.

Gujarat 190 for 9 v Mumbai

Led by Ramesh Powar's four-wicket haul and assisted by twin blows from Aavishkar Salvi and Swapnil Hazare, Mumbai reduced Gujarat to 190 for 9 by close of the opening day at Ahmedabad. Parthiv Patel, who was picked for the India tour of Pakistan, shored up the Gujarat innings with a valiant 47 before Hemal Watekar's unbeaten 46 lifted Gujarat to a fighting total. Salvi and Hazare picked up the four of the top six in the order before Powar, who had removed Parthiv, came back to rip the tail apart.

Uttar Pradesh 101 for 1 (Shukla 58*) trail Hyderabad142 by 41 runs

Shalabh Srivastava and Ashish Zaidi rocked the top order while Piyush Chawla blew the tail away as Uttar Pradesh shot out Hyderabad for 142 before riding on Shukla's unbeaten half-century to reach a position of relative strength at 101 for 1 by stumps on the opening day at Lucknow. A stunning scoreline considering Hyderabad, with 9 points from four games, are placed second in the Group B table while UP are wallowing near the bottom of the table. Shashank Nag, the left-hand opener, took Hyderabad to 70 before becoming the fourth wicket to fall, triggering a collapse.

Maharashtra 55 for 1 v Railways

Off the 32 overs that were possible due to a delayed start owing to rain Maharashtra reached 55 for the loss of Abhijit Kale, the opener, in the crucial tie against Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi. Railways, with only 4 points in five games, lie at the bottom of the table along with Maharashtra and face the threat of relegation. Maharashtra have an overseas coach in Darren Holder, the Australian, but the results have been pretty disappointing so far.

Baroda 82 for 1 v Services

Only 26.2 overs were possible on a rain-affected day as Pinal Shah steered Baroda to 82 for 1 against Services by close at Palam A Stadium in New Delhi. Baroda are perched on top of the Group B table with 13 points from four games while Services are at the bottom of the pool, yet to earn a point.

Punjab 190 for 4 (Mongia 52*, Dharmani 46) v Andhra

Punjab, competing for the second semi-final spot, plodded their way to 190 for 4 by the end of the opening day against Andhra at Visakhapatnam. Pankaj Dharmani and Dinesh Mongia, the captain, put up a 91-run stand for the third wicket to lift Punjab from a shaky 99 for 3 to a position of relative strength. "We need to go all out and we are confident of doing it. Our team is well balanced. However, we don't underestimate Andhra, which is doing well'', Inthikab Alam, the Punjab coach and former Pakistan captain, had said on the eve of the match. If their tedious progress today is any indication, they have a battle on their hands.