Assam go top with tense win
Assam 179 (Sunny Gupta 4-56, Nadeem 4-65) and 207 (Sinha 55, Tajinder 53*, Nadeem 4-83) beat Jharkhand 174 (Nemat 53, Konwar 6-67) and 159 (Nemat 42, Syed Mohammad 5-52, Konwar 4-72) by 53 runs
Assam's spin twins, J Syed Mohammad and Arlen Konwar, delivered them a second win in as many matches, keeping Jharkhand down to 157 in their defence of 212. It will be ironical to Tamil Nadu supporters that on the day their spinners struggled badly on a rank turner, Syed, who has played Under-19 cricket for them, took his first five-wicket haul for another team and took them to the top of Group C.
Jharkhand began the day needing 157 with eight wickets in hand, but Syed took little time in dismissing the first-innings half-centurion and danger man Rameez Nemat for 42. Saurabh Tiwary and Deepak Chougule then added 29 for the fourth wicket, but Syed dismissed Tiwary too to make it 101 for 4.
To make things worse for Jharkhand, he trapped Chougule too, and at 120 for 5 Assam were the favourites. Wicketkeeeper Shiv Gautam, though, had other ideas, and took Jharkhand to 155 for 6. By now, the first-innings hero, Konwar, had swung into action, and had begun chipping at the lower order. To seal the deal, Syed dismissed Gautam for 30. At 155 for 8, it was all but over. Konwar completed the formalities, and the four wickets gave him a maiden 10-wicket match haul.
Jammu & Kashmir 338 (Rassol 171, Desai 4-24) and 95 for 6 (Jakati 4-26) drew with Goa 406 for 6 dec. (Asnodkar 103, Desai 85, Bisla 80, Pinto 53*)
Shadab Jakati's four-wicket burst at the top of Jammu & Kashmir's innings injected some interest into an otherwise drab match, but Bandeep Singh and captain Samiullah Beigh fought it out to a draw and their first point of the season. Playing their first match of the season, Goa had already secured three points when they went past J&K's 338 in the first session.
They began the day needing 81, and even though they lost Manvinder Bisla early, Goa kept moving towards the target steadily. Reagan Pinto and Ravikant Shukla were at the wicket when the first-innings lead was secured, and Pinto went on to score an unbeaten half-century.
An innings run rate of 2.63 an over didn't suggest any desperation for an outright result, but Jakati livened up the proceedings. At 40 for 6, J&K were still 28 short of avoiding an innings defeat. However, Beigh, who scored a fifty in the first innings, and Bandeep batted out a whopping 41.3 overs for an unbeaten 55-run partnership. That was a point well earned.
Services 312 (Desai 61, Chatarjee 54, Anshul Gupta 54, Paliwal 52, Dhawan 3-80, Malik 3-89) and 314 for 4 (Swain 118*, Gupta 64, Yashpal 59*) drew with Himachal Pradesh 544 for 6 dec. (Dogra 210, Amit Kumar 91, P Chopra 90, A Chopra 65)
For the second game in a row, Himachal Pradesh went into the final day looking to force an outright win. And for the second time, they were thwarted by some dogged batting.
Himachal needed eight wickets, they began well enough, claiming the third wicket in the second over of the day, but Soumya Swain and Anshul Gupta of Services played out 46.4 overs for the fourth wicket, and Swain and Yashpal Singh remained unseparated for 26.5 overs. Swain's unbeaten 118 was his second first-class century, while Gupta and Yashpal posted fifties too.
Tripura 260 (Abbas Ali 103, Atchuta Rao 3-41) and 170 for 4 (Roy 81) drew with Andhra 436 for 8 dec. (Prasanth 119, Watekar 116, Sumanth 83)
Andhra bowlers took three early wickets, but that was not enough to bring to life a sleepy contest in Anantapur. Andhra had already taken the lead on the third day, and Tripura were not showing any inclination to go for quick runs.
Once Andhra reduced them to 74 for 3, though, they had to dig deep to salvage the solitary point. Subhrajit Roy and Ajay Ratra did just that. They batted out 41.2 overs for the fourth wicket. That was enough even though they added 83. Once Roy got out for 81, there was no interest left in the game, and the draw was amicably called.