Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Group B, Round 2, 3rd day November 11, 2012

Delhi push closer to outright win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Odisha 143 (Natraj Behera 35, Manan Sharma 4-30) and 229 for 6 (Podder 85) lead Delhi 331 (Manhas 161*, Narwal 66, Mohanty 4-81) trail by 41 runs

Odisha made Delhi work hard for their wickets, but the hosts put in the hard work to end the day hopeful of an outright win. Their quicks persevered even as Odisha resisted, and by stumps Odisha were only 41 ahead with four wickets in hand.

Govind Podder was the main irritant for Delhi, scoring 85 runs and denying the hosts for close to three-and-a-half hours. He added 84 for the third wicket with Biplab Samantray. Sumit Narwal, though, found a way to hit Podder's stumps. Narwal had also scored crucial 66 runs to help Delhi build up the lead.

That wasn't the end of the resistance as Samantray and Natraj Behera added 59 to make sure Delhi will have to bat again. Pawan Suyal now found Samantray's wicket, and two more fell quickly to send Odisha from 202 for 3 to 225 for 6. Behera, their last hope, was still at the wicket, unbeaten on 35.

Karnataka 239 for 3 (Pawan 69, Satish 65*, Uthappa 53) trail Tamil Nadu 538 for 4 dec. (D Karthik 154*, Aparajith 112, Prasanna 74*, Badrinath 72, Abhinav 51, A Karthik 50) by 299 runs

In a match that is bad news for spin enthusiasts in India, only seven wickets have fallen in three days on a square turner. Spin was introduced as early as the sixth over of the match. Keeping in with the Tamil Nadu trend, all six of whose batsmen scored at least fifty, no Karnataka batsman, with the exception of Manish Pandey, fell before reaching the half-century.

They ended the day at 239 for 3, needing another 300 to take the first-innings lead. If neither Karnataka are bowled out nor 539 is reached, both teams will have to do with one point each.

The scores, though, are misleading. They suggest an airport road, but it simply wasn't the case. The ball jumped, kicked, turned a long way throughout the three days, but the wickets just didn't arrive.

Robin Uthappa was the first to reach fifty on the third day, but fell playing across the line soon after. KB Pawan, who looked good for much more, scooped a full toss from part-timer Abhinav Mukund to mid-on. Pandey edged M Rangarajan behind, raising Tamil Nadu's hopes at 184 for 3, but Ganesh Satish and Amit Verma batted out the 25.4 overs to stumps.

Vidarbha 264 (Badani 111*, Shrivastava 63) and 3 for 1 trail Baroda 514 for 7 dec. (Solanki 120, Chauhan 118, Yusuf Pathan 78, Waghmode 62, Rayudu 58) by 247 runs

Yusuf Pathan smashed 78 off 36 balls to lend energy to a meandering match, giving Baroda enough time to push for an outright win over Vidarbha. Before Yusuf's intervention, Baroda had claimed the three first-innings points through a century from Abhimanyu Chauhan, but the rest didn't show much intent to set up a declaration.

Rakesh Solanki, too, got a hundred, but at a strike-rate of 40. However, Yusuf walked in at 364 for 4 in 139.2 overs and left at 473 in 147.5. The game's complexion had changed through his six fours and five sixes, and Baroda could now ask Vidarbha to bat before stumps. And in those four overs Firdaush Bhaja bowled Aniruddha Chore to leave Vidarbha needing 247 to make Baroda bat again.

Uttar Pradesh 287 for 1 (Srivastava 134*, Dagar 126) trail Maharashtra 764 for 6 dec. (Jadhav 327, Motwani 147, Atitkar 80, Bhawne 78, Khadiwale 68) by 477 runs

Another pitch has produced just seven wickets over three days, but this one is a bona fide airport runway. Which is perhaps why Maharashtra didn't look too keen to declare despite crossing 700 on the second evening. They even added 26 on the third morning before finally asking Uttar Pradesh to bat.

The worst fears about the pitch came true when UP cruised to 287 for 1 by stumps. Mukul Dagar joined Jiwanjot Singh and Paras Dogra as centurions in both the matches of Ranji Trophy so far. This was his second century in a three-match career. Tanmay Srivastava scored his seventh first-class century. The only wicket went to part-timer Kedar Jadhav, who scored a triple-century on day two.

If Maharashtra can't do better with the ball on the final day, a first-innings result will not be achieved. Both the teams will get a point each, and the local association might have to face questions regarding the quality of the pitch.

For more on the third day's play from Pune, click here.