Bundela takes MP close to three points
Madhya Pradesh 265 for 5 (Bundela 106*, Jalaj Saxena 61*, Birla 52) trail Hyderabad 341 (Laxman 120, Vihari 81) by 76 runs
Madhya Pradesh's veteran captain Devendra Bundela scored a fighting hundred, and the young offspinner Jalaj Saxena chipped in with a breezy 61 to take MP to within 77 runs of three points in Hyderabad. Saxena had helped them salvage a point in the previous game too, by batting out more than two hours with the tail.
MP were struggling on 44 for 3 when the day began, but Bundela found an able ally in Udit Birla, with whom he added 108 for the fourth wicket. Birla's wicket, though, brought another, and at 159 for 5 MP were still struggling. However, Hyderabad found no success in the 36.5 overs that followed. The two have added 106 and have set up an exciting first session or so for the final day.
Bengal 326 (Saha 98, Shukla 62, Rahul Sharma 4-53) and 25 for 1 trail Punjab 579 for 7 dec. (Uday Kaul 165*, Jiwanjot 158, Sidhana 115, Amitoze 52) trail by 228 runs
Building on their openers' centuries, Punjab batted Bengal out of the game, and declared with enough time to take one wicket before stumps. That left Bengal needing 228 runs to avoid an innings defeat on the final day.
Most of Punjab's scoring was done by wicketkeeper Uday Kaul who was unbeaten on a career-best 165 when the declaration was made. Jiwanjot Singh, who began the day on 102, added 56 more before he finally fell to the part-time leg-spin of Manoj Tiwary. Jiwanjot's average now is 185.5, albeit slightly less impressive than it was at the end of the second day.
As Uday went solidly, the others provided quick runs in the declaration push, most notably Manpreet Gony's 25 off eight balls. Siddarth Kaul then got rid of Subhomoy Das before stumps.
Mumbai 360 for 3 (Hiken Shah 118*, Tare 80, Rohit Sharma 79, Kaustubh Pawar 53) trail Rajasthan 478 (Kanitkar 119, Saxena 114, Yagnik 76*) by 118 runs
Each of the four Mumbai specialist batsmen who batted in Jaipur reached half-centuries, with Hiken Shah turning it into an unbeaten hundred. Consequently Mumbai had reached within 119 runs of claiming three points against defending champions Rajasthan.
Rajasthan's bowlers, especially Pankaj Singh, had been impressive in seaming conditions in Kolkata a week earlier, but they have gone 118 overs now for just the three wickets. Kaustubh Pawar was the first success of the day for them, and when they denied Aditya Tare a century, they had a little bit of momentum with them, which Hiken and Rohit Sharma duly thwarted.
The duo added 175 for the third wicket, and batted together for 51.3 overs. Rohit missed out on a century when he fell just before stumps, but Hiken and nightwatchman Kshemal Waingankar saw through the day without further incident.
Saurashtra 323 for 2 (Jadeja 119*, Jogiyani 116*) trail Gujarat 600 for 9 dec. (Bhatt 160*, Juneja 159, Smit Patel 61, Parthiv Patel 56) by 277 runs
Sagar Jogiyani and Ravindra Jadeja scored unbeaten centuries and added an unbeaten 203 for the third wicket to set up an interesting fight for three points on the final day. Jadeja began the last season too with a century, only going on to make it a triple. Responding to Gujarat's 600 for 9 declared, Saurashtra were 323 for 2 at the end of the third day.
Gujarat must have for hoped for much better after removing Chirag Pathak in the second over of the day. The second success of the day, Bhushan Chauhan, came early enough, and reduced Saurashtra to 120 for 2. For the rest of the day, they didn't taste any success. This was Jadeja's sixth first-class hundred, and Jogiyani's fourth. While Jogiyani was cautious, Jadeja went at a strike-rate of 65.