Good bowling day for Rajasthan and Punjab
Rajasthan 7 for 1 trail Madhya Pradesh 256 (Rameez Khan 54, Bundela 53, Pankaj Singh 4-63, Rituraj 4-68) 249 runs
The Singhs of Rajasthan, Pankaj and Rajasthan, took eight wickets between them to give the defending champions an ideal start to their third match after just two points from the first two. Devendra Bundela and Rameez Khan, though, made sure Rajasthan, who are missing Hrishikesh Kanitkar, will have to work for points in this match.
Rituraj inflicted the early damage, taking three wickets inside the first hour. Aniket Choudhary's strike made it 31 for 4. Wickets kept felling but Bundela remained firm. However, Pankaj returned to take the wickets of both the half-centurions, and also Anand Rajan, who scored 45. With the four wickets, Pankaj reached 14 wickets for the season, level with Manpreet Gony and behind behind only Shahbaz Nadeem and Arlen Konwar.
Railways 193 for 7 (Gony 2-20, Sandeep Sharma 2-32) v Punjab
Thanks to a strong pace attack of Gony, Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul, Punjab had picked up seven points in each of their first two games at home. Playing away, too, their quicks took two wickets each to leave Railways struggling at 193 for 7 in Bhubaneswar.
Bad light allowed only 74 overs on the first day, but they were enough for Punjab to grab advantage. It began with Gony getting Amit Paunikar in the first over, and Sandeep soon made it 16 for 2. Nitin Bhille and Sanjay Bangar got a partnership going, but a further middle-order collapse left the hosts at 83 for 5.
PM Madkaikar, Ashish Yadav, Murali Kartik and Krishnakant Upadhyay slowed down Punjab's charge. Kartik and Upadhyay were unbeaten at stumps.
Gujarat 230 for 6 (Smit Patel 67, Parthiv Patel 61, Sarkar 3-57) v Bengal
The Patels, Smit and Parthiv, scored fifties once again, but they couldn't turn it into a big advantage as the hosts came back through medium-pacer Sourav Sarkar's three wickets. Both teams were coming off bitter disappointments: Bengal lost their last match by an innings, and Gujarat conceded a lead after scoring 600 in theirs.
Early honours belonged to Bengal as Gujarat lost their first two wickets for 21. The Patels brought them back with a brisk 95-run partnership in 22.3 overs. Parthiv's wicket to left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena started a collapse of four wickets for 48 runs.
However, Manprit Juneja, who scored a hundred in the last match, steadied them through an unbeaten 56-run stand with Rakesh Dhurv.
Saurashtra 251 for 7 (Jackson 67, Reddy 4-52) v Hyderabad
Hyderabad, missing captain VVS Laxman due to a bad back, made a good start to their third Ranji game with debutant medium-pacer Ashish Reddy taking four wickets. Saurashtra, who overhauled 600 in their previous match, made a comeback through Sheldon Jackson's 67 after they had been 145 for 6.
Reddy got rid of both openers, and then Jaydev Shah and Shitanshu Kotak in the middle. Last match's heroes Sagar Jogiyani and Ravindra Jadeja couldn't add much either. Wicketkeeeper-batsman Jackson, though, proved stubborn and added 63 for the seventh wicket with Kamlesh Makvana, who was unbeaten at stumps.