Sunil Joshi spins Karnataka to the top
Karnataka 283 and 196 for 5 (Somasunder 54) lead Delhi 258 (Chopra 84, Sehwag 56, Joshi 6-73) by 221 runs
Sunil Joshi turned in a stunning performance to spin out Delhi, comfortably placed overnight at 213 for 2, for 258, gaining a vital first-innings lead before Sujith Somasunder and Thilak Naidu propelled Karnataka to 196 for 5, 221 runs ahead by the end of day three at Bangalore. Joshi was assisted by Anil Kumble who picked two wickets but it was the left-arm spinner who donned the wrecker-in-chief role today. Joshi, the former India player, removed Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra, the two well-set overnight batsmen, cheaply to engineer a collapse. Sehwag, the captain, was castled by Joshi but came back with the ball, picking up two wickets including that of the half-centurion Somasunder. 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 relegation.
Bengal 145 and 109 for 3 trail Tamil Nadu 218 and 423 for 7 decl (Badani 157, Vasudevadas 62) by 387 runs
Hemang Badani's 157 charged Tamil Nadu, overnight on 164 for 3, to a commanding 423 declared before Rajamani Jesuraj grabbed three wickets to leave Bengal, chasing 497, struggling at 109 for 3 by the end of the third day at the Eden Gardens. Badani, who stepped down from captaincy ahead of this tie citing the need to concentrate on his batting, played a fabulous hand in TN's revival. He lost Sridharan Sriram, his overnight partner, and the next man in Sathish early in the day but put on a 126-run stand for the sixth wicket with K Vasudevadas, the 20 year old left-hand bat, that allowed Tamil Nadu to declare. Dinesh Kartik, ignored for the Pakistan tour, did himself no favours, getting out for a duck but MR Srinivas, the No. 9 batsman, hit a breezy 41 to increase the target.
Jesuraj, who rocked Bengal with a five-for in the first innings, hit the top order hard again in the second essay leaving them tottering at 51 for 3 before Sourav Ganguly and Ashok Jhunjhunwala took Bengal past the 100 run-mark at stumps. Bengal, with nine points from five games, will be looking to Ganguly, batting on 25, to engineer a minor miracle and hope to eke out some points to secure a semi-final spot while Tamil Nadu will do its best to go for an outright victory or at the least grab two points to avoid being relegated to Plate.
Uttar Pradesh 340 and 4 for 0 trail Hyderabad 142 and 227 (Chawla 5-37) by 25 runs
Uttar Pradesh require another 26 runs to claim their first win of the season after Piyush Chawla's third five-wicket haul in as many games saw Hyderabad bowled out for 277 on the third day at Lucknow and left UP just 29 to win. Arjun Yadav, Hyderabad's captain, top-scored with 49 but Chawla and the rest of the UP bowlers proved too much for the middle order. Should UP go on to win by 10 wickets, they will gain 5 points and replace Haryana to take the fifth spot in the Group B table.
Punjab 316 and 98 for 3 lead Andhra 237 (Venugopal 78, MSK Prasad 72, R Sharma 5-61) by 177 runs
Rajesh Sharma's first five-wicket haul and three wickets from Dinesh Mongia, Punjab's captain, skittled out Andhra for just 237 to give Punjab the upper hand on the third day's play at Visakhapatnam. Sharma, a 21-year-old offspinner, shared the spoils with Mongia after MSK Prasad and Venugopal Rao, the overnight batsmen, forged a 146-run stand for the third wicket. A shocking eight Andhra wickets fell for just 41 runs as Sharma made a mockery of the middle order after the senior duo of Prasad and Venugopal had done so well in the morning session. At 98 for 3, Punjab have a commanding 177-run lead going into the final day.
Maharashtra 237 and 76 for 3 lead Railways 140 (Munaf Patel 6-50) by 173 runs
Railways, with only 4 points in five games and facing relegation, were rocked by Munaf Patel who grabbed a six-wicket haul to bowl them out for a paltry 140, gaining a vital 97-run first innings lead for Maharashtra. Munaf, the right-arm medium pacer, ripped Railways apart in their own backyard before Maharashtra reached 76 for 3, 173 runs ahead by the end of the third day at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi.
Services 194 for 3 (Jasvir Singh 63*, M Reddy 51) trail Baroda 449 for 4 (P Shah 217*, Martin 53) by 255 runs
Pinal Shah, Baroda's wicketkeeper, made his maiden first-class hundred a fine unbeaten double as Jacob Martin declared his side's first innings on 449 for 4 and then restricted Services to 194 for 3 at stumps on day three at Palam. Shah's 512-minuted effort consumed 355 deliveries and was laced with 25 boundaries, and ensured Baroda cannot lose this match. Martin, with 53, and Yusuf Pathan, with a breezy 25 not-out, added to Services' woes. Madhusudhan Reddy then scored a dogged fifty as Services began their reply, but he was the second wicket to fall as Services ended the day 262 runs behind Baroda. Jasvir Singh was not-out on 63, and much of Services' hopes rest on him as the final day begins.
Gujarat 200 and 190 for 8 (Patel 72, Powar 5-49) lead Mumbai 207 by 183 runs
Ramesh Powar's five-wicket haul reduced Gujarat to 181 for 6 after the Mumbai tail had earlier eked out a few runs to earn a nominal first-innings lead. Powar ran through the middle and lower order after Aavishkar Salvi had removed the openers but Niraj Patel shored up the Gujarat innings with a fighting 72. Mumbai, having resumed the day with two wickets in hand and still 6 runs behind, were steered by Nilesh Kulkarni (14 off 82 balls) to a seven-run lead.