Jiwanjot Singh continues dream debut season
Punjab 229 for 1 (Sidhana 107*, Jiwanjot 102*) trail Bengal 326 (Saha 98, Shukla 62, Rahul Sharma 4-53) by 97 runs
Jiwanjot Singh followed up his double-century on debut with an unbeaten century in his second first-class game to help put Punjab into a position of strength in Mohali. With his 102 not out, scored alongside Mayank Sidana's unbeaten 107, Jiwanjot's average now reads 315. This was Sidhana's second first-class century.
Such joy evaded Wriddhiman Saha, who fell two short of a century in the morning session. This was Saha's third fifty-plus score in three innings in this Ranji Trophy. Punjab, though, did well enough to take the last three Bengal wickets for just 12 runs. Rahul Sharma, making a comeback after Harbhajan Singh left for the England Tests, took four wickets.
Bengal made a good start with the ball, but after Karan Goel's wicket they bowled 57 wicketless overs for 206 runs. Ashok Dinda bowled 20 unsuccessful overs.
Mumbai 76 for 0 trail Rajasthan 478 (Kanitkar 119, Saxena 114, Yagnik 76*) by 402 runs
At the end of a topsy-turvy second day, Mumbai and Rajasthan looked set to settle their differences through first-innings lead. Rajasthan scored 209 runs for the loss of eight wickets on day two, following which the Mumbai openers batted out 28 overs without any loss.
Rajasthan lost Vineet Saxena for his overnight 114, and Mumbai capped off a tight session with the wickets of Robin Bist and Ashok Menaria. At 322 for 5 Rajasthan found a 58-run partnership for the sixth wicket only to lose three for 19 again.
However, Dishant Yagnik and Pankaj Singh added 62 for the ninth wicket, and a 17-run final-wicket stand took Rajasthan to 478. The Mumbai openers, though, brought the game right back in balance by denying the Rajasthan bowlers.
Madhya Pradesh 44 for 3 trail Hyderabad 341 (Laxman 120, Vihari 81) by 297 runs
VVS Laxman, who after his Test retirement has committed to helping his Ranji side out of the doldrums, scored his 55th first-class century to carry Hyderabad to 341, a score from where they can hope to earn their first points of the season.
This was Laxman's 55th first-class century. Twenty-three of those have come for Hyderabad, a record for the Ranji side. He began the day at 70 not out, but lost Hanuma Vihari early. Vihari scored 81 in a 143-run partnership. Laxman, though, carried the lower order until he fell for 120, with the score at 251 for 7.
A familiar story of a collapse after Laxman seemed to be playing itself out, but Mohammed Khader and Vishal Sharma added 71 crucial runs for the last wicket, a contribution most likely to please Laxman, who made scoring with the tail an artform.
The bowlers continued in that spirit and Khader, Pagadala Naidu and Vihari took a wicket each before stumps to put Hyderabad in control.
Saurashtra 42 for 0 trail Gujarat 600 for 9 dec. (Bhatt 160*, Juneja 159, Smit Patel 61, Parthiv Patel 56) by 558 runs
Overnight batsmen Manprit Juneja and Rujul Bhatt ground Saurashtra into the Surat dust as Gujarat added 322 runs on the second day before declaring at 600 for 9. Saurashtra might have started the day with some hope after having taken five wickets on the first day, but it took them 53.1 overs to take their first wicket of the second, by which time Juneja and Bhatt had added 239 for the sixth wicket.
This was the second first-class century for both Juneja and Bhatt, who are making it a habit of making tons into big ones. Their 159 and 160 not out didn't even come close to threatening their personal bests, 201 not out and 186.
The Saurashtra openers batted out the 12 overs they were asked to just before stumps, but their side know they are still in for a big fight.