Punjab continue relentless march
Punjab 205 (Jiwanjot 61, Trivedi 5-64) and 120 for 2 (Goel 75*) beat Saurashtra 90 (Sandeep 7-25) and 233 (Jogiyani 76, S Kaul 6-63) by eight wickets
A solid all-round showing from Punjab on Monday helped them ease past Saurashtra by eight wickets in Mohali with over a day to spare, and record their third win in four games in the Ranji Trophy this season. While medium pacer Siddarth Kaul closed out the Saurashtra innings quickly in the morning to ensure Punjab were chasing just 119, Karan Goel anchored the chase with 75 not out.
Saurashtra had begun the day on 212 for 7, 97 ahead, and it took Punjab less than eight overs to claim the remaining wickets. Kaul took two of those wickets to finish with a career-best 6 for 63. Like in Saurashtra's first innings, it was the seamers who did all the damage, claiming all 10 wickets among them. Kaul's six-for puts him at joint-third on the wickets chart, tied for the moment with his team-mate Sandeep Sharma (who took three in the innings to finish with a 10-for) and Assam offspinner Arlen Konwar.
In the chase, opener Jiwanjot Singh had his first real failure of the tournament, but Goel held firm at his end. Mayank Sidhana made a contribution too with a rapid 21, before Mandeep Singh and Goel took Punjab home. The win helps them extend their already sizeable lead on the Group A points table.
Hyderabad 423 for 3 (Akshath Reddy 196, Vihari 191) trail Mumbai 443 (Shah 156, Rohit 112, Nayar 64, Tare 62, Ashish Reddy 4-77) by 20 runs
Akshath Reddy and Hanuma Vihari put on the largest partnership in Hyderabad's history to pummel Mumbai at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal. Twenty-one-year-old Reddy, who is the stand-in captain, and 19-year-old Vihari, who was part of India Under-19s World Cup-winning squad, batted almost the entire day as they added 386 for the second wicket to put Hyderabad comfortably on course for taking the first-innings lead. Mumbai were weakened by the absence of their captain Ajit Agarkar and fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni, and experienced bowlers like Aavishkar Salvi and Ramesh Powar could make little impact against the young Hyderabad pair. Both batsmen made career-best scores, but both missed out on double-centuries, dismissed a handful of overs before stumps. Still, this was a dramatic turnaround in the match after Mumbai were at a dominant 325 for 2 at stumps on the first day.
Gujarat 117 (Parthiv 55, Bangar 5-12) and 288 for 6 (Parthiv 65, Juneja 57*, Smit 55, Gohel 53) lead Railways 308 (Paunikar 85, Rawat 66, Bangar 61) by 97 runs
A slew of half-centuries from Gujarat's batsmen helped them stay in the game against Railways, and though they still have work ahead, Gujarat finished the day in a relatively more comfortable position than they have been in all match. After the openers Smit Patel and Samit Gohel hit half-centuries, Parthiv Patel made his sixth 50-plus score in seven first-class innings to keep Gujarat's hopes of salvaging a draw alive. After his dismissal, Manprit Juneja took over, ending the day unbeaten on 57 to put Gujarat 97 ahead with four wickets still remaining. Taking the game to the fourth day itself is an achievement for Gujarat, after imploding for 117 on the first day and then letting Railways take an almost 200-run lead.
Madhya Pradesh 342 (Ojha 99, Bundela 61, Birla 50, Ahmed 7-79) and 135 for 3 (Birla 60*, Ankit 56*) lead Bengal 299 (Jhunjhunwala 107, Saha 87, Pandey 5-87) by 178 runs
Madhya Pradesh secured a first-innings lead, bowling Bengal out for 299 despite some stiff resistance from Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and No. 10 Veer Pratap Singh. Jhunjhunwala, playing his first game of the Ranji season, kicked on from an overnight 41 to his fourth first-class century. Bengal began the day disastrously, losing Laxmi Shukla and hat-trick man Shami Ahmed for ducks, before Jhunjhunwala put on a fighting tenth-wicket stand of 83 with Veer. That was still not enough to lift them past MP's 342 - they fell 43 short. In their second innings, MP suffered a wobble, falling to 37 for 3, before an unbroken 98-run stand between Ankit Sharma and Udit Birla put them firmly on top.