All-round Pagadala Naidu helps Hyderabad win
Hyderabad have gone top of Group B, temporarily, after beating Goa in three days, in Porvorim. Ibrahim Khaleel and Pagadala Naidu took Hyderabad's score from 298 for 6 to 408. Naidu then took four wickets, as did Anwar Ahmed, as Goa were bowled out for 104 to lose by an inning and 157 runs. Goa's lowest score in the season, before this match, had been 281 but Hyderabad managed to skittle them for scores of 147 and 104. Hyderabad's batsmen had already got them into a strong position on the second day.
On the third, Khaleel and Naidu took their partnership to 118 runs, with Khaleel scoring a season's best 94 and Naidu getting a maiden first-class half-century. That gave Hyderabad a first-innings lead of 261 runs, and it was more than enough for their bowlers to ensure the batsmen wouldn't have to bat again. As in the first innings, it was the seamers who did the damage, with Naidu, Anwar and Mohammed Khader taking all 10 wickets between them. Anwar and Khader got the early wickets, and then Naidu came in and bowled 6.1 overs to take 4 for 16. Wicketkeeper Khaleel, who earlier this season broke the record for the most dismissals in a first-class match, held five catches in Goa's second innings. Only Swapnil Asnodkar got to double-figures in Goa's top order, and if it were not for a couple of partnerships from the tail Goa could have been out for a lower score - they were 51 for 8 at one stage.
An unbeaten century from Ishank Jaggi led a strong comeback from Jharkhand in Dhanbad, though on 301 for 4 they still have some way to go before going past Assam's first-innings score of 502. The 22-year-old Jaggi, who earned a reputation for himself last season, when he finished among the top five run-getters in the Plate League, has had a disappointing start to this Ranji season, with three single-digit scores in his last two matches. On the third day in Dhanbad, he scored 163 not out and helped his team recover from 46 for 3. The fourth day will now see a battle for the first-innings lead, with Assam still favourites but Jaggi keeping Jharkhand's chances afloat.
Shiv Gautam joined Jaggi after Jharkhand lost their third wicket early into the third day. Gautam scored 82 and the pair put on 217 runs for the fourth wicket. Fast bowler Abu Nechim dismissed Gautam, his fourth scalp, but Jaggi carried on and by the end of the day had taken the score past 300. The fourth day will now see a battle for the first-innings lead, with Assam still favourites but Jaggi keeping Jharkhand's chances afloat.
Am unbeaten century from Ankit Bawne and Rohit Motwani's 98 gave Maharashtra the first-innings lead in their match against Jammu & Kashmir in Ratnagiri. The base had been laid on the second day, when Maharashtra got to 204 for 2 in response to J & K's 388. Bawne and Motwani ensured Maharashtra finished the third day 479 for 5. Overnight batsmen Sangram Dilp Atitkar and Nikhil Paradkar were both dismissed within 11.1 overs on the third morning but Bawne and Motwani put on 190 runs for the fifth wicket. Motwani fell short of his century but Bawne reached 104 not out by stumps. Kedar Jadhav came in when Motwani fell, and scored a brisk 45 not out. Maharashtra are now almost guaranteed at least three points, which would take them back to the top of Group B.
Bawne's age was questioned at the start of the season but the youngster, who is
from Nashik, did not let such things deter him when he came to bat at the Chhatrapati Shivaji stadium, his favourite venue where he had notched a double-century in an Under-19 match as well as twin centuries in couple of Under-16 games. "It was very good to score a
hundred after all that happened. Whatever happened has happened. I am now focussed on the Ranji Trophy season, and taking it each match at a time, day by day," Bavne told The Times of India.
The match between Kerala and Andhra in Kochi is set for a dramatic finish with Andhra needing three more runs to win, with just one wicket in hand. That has only been made possible by an unbroken 26-run stand between Andhra's last pair: Garikina Prasad and Paidikalva Vijaykumar. Kerala were on the brink of a win when they reduced Andhra, who were chasing 188, to 159 for 9. But the 10th wicket stand has now put Kerala in serious danger of losing the low-scoring thriller.
After a manic second day, on which 21 wickets fell, Kerala's 19-year-old wicketkeeper Akshay Kodoth scored 30 to take his team from 81 for 7 to 131. That left Andhra, who had been bowled out for 74 in their first innings, with 188 to win. It was a tense battle, with Bodapati Sumanth's 55 keeping Andhra in the game despite Raiphi Gomez's early strikes. Left-arm spinner P Prasanth got into the act and his three strikes left Andhra in trouble. When Sumanth was dismissed by Sony Cheruvathur it appeared Andhra's fight was over but the last-wicket pair have kept the game alive going into the final day.
Sairaj Bahutule scored an unbeaten century to lead a remarkable turnaround that gave Vidarbha the first-innings lead against Tripura in Agartala. Tripura looked set to secure their first points of the season after scoring 281 and reducing Vidarbha to 204 for 7 by the end of the second day. But Bahutule scored a career-best 134 not out, his first century for Vidarbha, to take his team to 368. Tripura then slipped to 99 for 4 and will now have to battle to avoid a fourth-straight loss of the season. Bahutule hit 19 fours in his innings, and shared a 92-run partnership with Amol Jungade for the ninth wicket.
Himachal Pradesh have Services on the mat in Dharamsala, after taking five second-innings wickets with Services still trailing by 28 runs. Services started the third day on 134 for 6 in response to Himachal's 364. Resistance from Soomik Chatarjee and Irfan Khan gave them some hope of saving the follow-on but they ended up falling 13 runs short.
Seamer Rishi Dhawan took the last two wickets to fall to finish with 5 for 74, his second five-wicket haul of the season. Dhawan then took three wickets in Services' second innings, as they slumped to 134 for 5. Opener Pratik Desai stayed unbeaten on 56 and had a 61-run opening partnership with Jasvir Singh but wickets fell in a clump after that and Services will need a dramatic turnaround to avoid an outright loss on Friday.