Bengal close in on outright win
Gujarat 260 (Smit Patel 67, Parthiv Patel 61, Sarkar 4-60, Dinda 3-73) and 18 for 4 trail Bengal 526 for 7 decl. (Tiwary 191, Shukla 113 not out, Das 75, Majumdar 68) by 248 runs
Bengal closed in on their first outright win of the season through a nine-over burst between their declaration and stumps to remove all three Patels. Both their opening bowlers struck once each, their captain Manoj Tiwary celebrated his 191 earlier in the day with the scalp of his opposite number, and Gujarat's last six were left to erase the deficit of 248 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Tiwary began the day at 102 not out, and Bengal were 40 runs behind Gujarat's 260. With Anustup Majumdar, Tiwary took Bengal into lead, and with Laxmi Shukla he piled on the misery for Gujarat. Shukla scored 113 off 117 to give Bengal a total they would feel safe with.
Given nine overs to survive before stumps, Gujarat faltered. Priyank Panchal was run out in the second over, Niraj Patel fell to Ashok Dinda in the third, and Smit Patel was bowled by Sourav Sarkar in the fourth. Just before stumps, Tiwary accounted for the most important Patel, Parthiv, getting him to edge to Wriddhiman Saha.
Railways 205 (Sandeep Sharma 4-38, Siddarth Kaul 3-66) and 183 for 2 (Paunikar 113*) lead Punjab 314 (Uday Kaul 100, Amitoze Singh 55) by 74 runs
The highlight of a shortened day in Bhubaneswar was that Railways managed to get Uday Kaul out for the first time this season. Otherwise, Punjab, who had taken a lead on day two, couldn't find a way through Railways' batting a second time around, and the match headed towards a draw.
Uday added four to his overnight 96 before he fell to Sanjay Bangar, but Punjab managed a lead of 109. Amit Paunikar responded with an unbeaten century, but that only took the match towards a draw. However, if Railways manage the draw, they will take away one point from the game.
The concern for Punjab was that Manpreet Gony bowled only 3.5 overs.
Saurashtra 260 (Jackson 67, Ashish Reddy 6-56) and 270 for 6 (Jogiyani 69, Shah 55) lead Hyderabad 186 (Akshath Reddy 51, Jadeja 6-71) by 344 runs
Saurashtra, who had taken a lead on day two, surprised observers by not asking Hyderabad to bat for what could have been a tricky period before stumps. Saurashtra already had a lead of 344, and Hyderabad, a fragile line-up, are missing VVS Laxman in this match.
Their approach on the third day, though, was surprising. They batted out the whole 90 overs for just 270 runs. Sagar Jogiyani scored 69 off 195. While wanting to secure the match might have been behind their go-slow in the morning, it was hard to find reasons for not declaring, especially after Jaydev Shah's 55 off 67 balls had provided them momentum.
Madhya Pradesh 256 (Rameez Khan 54, Bundela 53, Pankaj Singh 4-63, Rituraj 4-68) and 200 for 1 (Ojha 102*, Zafar Ali 54) lead Rajasthan 379 (Parida 108, Bist 85, Pandey 6-92) by 77 runs
In another match headed towards a draw, Madhya Pradesh's Naman Ojha struck a century after Ishwar Pandey finished his second five-for. However, Rajasthan all but ensured three points despite a solid second-innings response from MP.
Rajasthan began the day at 306 for 6, and batted 26.4 overs for just 73 runs. When they were eventually bowled out for a lead of 123 runs, the only possibility of a result was if Rajasthan could bowl MP out. That didn't happen, and the teams were headed towards a drab final day.