Kanitkar and Saxena dominate Mumbai again
Rajasthan 269 for 2 (Kanitkar 119, Saxena 114*) v Mumbai
Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Vineet Saxena continued their domination of the most successful Ranji side, Mumbai, with centuries that took the defending champions Rajasthan to 269 for 2. Along the way Kanitkar also crossed 10,000 first-class runs, while Saxena went past his 5000th.
Mumbai managed to get captain Kanitkar out before stumps, but their 220-run partnership made the Mumbai attack look weak, especially in the absence of Ajit Agarkar. With these centuries, the records of Kanitkar and Saxena in the last three matches against Mumbai became all the more daunting. As a Rajasthan player, Kanitkar has played three matches against Mumbai, and scored 113, 141 and 119 in this match. In the same matches, Saxena has piled on 143, 53 and 4, and 114 not out in this game.
Mumbai tried seven bowlers, but only Kshemal Waingankar and Ankeet Chavan managed a wicket each.
Bengal 280 for 7 (Saha 75*, Shukla 62) v Punjab
The resilient lower middle order of Bengal bailed them out against a Punjab attack that looked like pushing towards a second straight position of dominance. Led by Manpreet Gony and Sandeep Sharma, they had reduced Bengal to 118 for 5, but ran into Wriddhiman Saha and Laxmi Shukla, who added 124 for the sixth wicket.
This was a third half-century in three innings this season for Saha, who finished unbeaten on 75. Shukla, who played his part with both bat and ball in the previous game, provided him able support, and Punjab had to wait for 36.2 overs for the sixth wicket. Debutant Arnab Nandi then added 33 with Saha to further frustrate, but parity was restored with Nandi's wicket with the last ball of the 87th over.
Hyderabad 159 for 2 (Vihari 76*, Laxman 70*) v Madhya Pradesh
They were three bad-light interruptions in Hyderabad, the third one ending the day with only 54 overs bowled, but there was time enough for Hyderabad to get off to a usual ordinary start, and VVS Laxman to find a partner and put up a usual rearguard.
Hyderabad lost their openers with only 22 runs on the board, but Laxman and the 19-year-old Hanuma Vihari then kept the MP attack at bay. Vihari finished the day five short of his personal best, and Laxman's 70 even inculded a six. He hit only five sixes in Tests.
Gujarat 278 for 5 (Juneja 67*, Smit Patel 61, Parthiv Patel 56) v Saurashtra
In the Gujarat derby, Gujarat gained the upper hand against Saurashtra on a day in which the balance of power shifted more than once. Saurashtra took two early wickets to make it 62 for 2, but the Patels, Smit and Parthiv, both wicketkeepers too, scored aggressive fifties only for Ravindra Jadeja to dismiss them within three overs to put the game in balance again at 148 for 4.
From there on then, youngsters Manprit Juneja and Bhargav Merai put Gujarat in ascendency with a partnership of 82. Merai, playing his second game, missed out on a maiden first-class fifty, but Juneja seemed on the way to what could be his second century in only his fourth match. Juneja also found support from No. 7 Rujul Bhatt, with whom he added an unbeaten 48 before stumps.