HP close in on knockout berth
Himachal Pradesh closed in on a first-innings lead in Kannur, and a place in the next round, after reducing Kerala to 249 for 7, still 203 runs behind. HP were a point behind their hosts in going into the game, but the three points on offer for a first-innings lead would catapult them past their opponents. Kerala had started brightly on the third day, progressing to 112 for 1 before left-arm spinner Abhinav Bali trapped Sony Cheruvathur lbw. Wickets fell at regular intervals after that - offspinner Gurvinder Singh took two in one over and three in three overs - to reduce Kerala to 193 for 7. Raiphi Gomez (51*) and Padmanabhan Prasanth (22*) prevented any further losses, but will be hardpressed to prevent the visitors from hammering home their advantage on the final day
Prasanth Kumar and AG Pradeep made cautious half-centuries to take Andhra to 192 for 3 against table-toppers Vidarbha in Cuddapah. The pair came together with their side 45 for 3 and built an unbeaten stand worth 147 at exactly two runs an over. Prasanth faced 249 balls for his 80, while Pradeep was marginally faster, taking 236 balls for his 82. With only one day remaining though, Andhra are unlikely to qualify for the knockouts, since they need an outright win just to have an outsize chance of going through.
Services need 194 runs to win with nine wickets in hand despite losing their last five wickets for just four runs in their first-innings on the penultimate day against Tripura in Agartala. Having begun the day on 246 for 5, Services succumbed for 253, the last four batsmen making zero. But their bowlers responded by dismssing Tripura for 227 to leave themselves a gettable target. Suraj Yadav took 4 for 54 and Nishan Singh 3 for 57, while Vinayak Samant topscored for Tripura with 49. Pratik Desai was out to the second ball of the innings before Services ended the day on 23 for 1.
Ian Dev Singh's made 168, his highest first-class score, to give Jammu & Kashmir a 44-run first-innings lead, but with only one day remaining at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad are all but assured of the one point they need to qualify for the next round. Ian Dev faced 339 balls and batted for just seven hours and 42 minutes to anchor J&K. Lalith Mohan was the best of the bowlers, taking 6 for 109 from 48.3 overs.
An allrounder effort from their bowlers helped Assam restrict Maharashtra to 244 and take a 35-run first-innings lead, before they extended that to 115 by the close in Guwahati. Ankit Bawne topscored for Maharashtra with 81, while Kedar Jahav made 60. Arup Das took for 4 for 45 for the hosts. Assam lost their top three early, but at 80 for 3 and barring a batting collapse, the match appears headed for a draw.
Amit Yadav's five-for helped Goa bowl out Jharkhand for 204 in their second innings, leaving them a target of 234 in Jamshedpur. Opener Anup Kolambker was bowled in the first over, but Ryan D'Souza and Vidhyadhar Kumar carried them to 62 for 1, and needing a 172 for victory. Amit ran through the lower middle order, taking four of the last five wickets, as Jharkhand slumped from 161 for 5. Opener Manish Vardhan topscored with 67.