Aparajith, Choudhary hit double tons
B Aparajith hit his second double-century in four weeks as Tamil Nadu compiled 456 for 7 before they declared. Services weathered 11 overs, scoring 17 before stumps on the second day.
Aparajith endured a chastening introduction to first-class cricket - scoring single-figures in five out of six innings in 2011-12- but bucked the trend with his maiden first-class century and has never looked back. He has been prolific this year, and on his back - 212 in the quarter-final and 109 in semi-final - South Zone stormed into the Duleep Trophy final.
He was quite fluent as well, stroking 19 fours - more than twice the tally of any other batsman - and a six as he featured in three century partnerships, including the match's best 168 with S Badrinath. Services' bowling was as blunt as the first day, with seamer Nishan Singh finally accounting for Aparajith for 203. Dinesh Karthik missed a fifty by two runs, though R Prasanna remained unbeaten on 74.
Saurashtra 475 for 7 (Jogiyani 133, Powar 4-177) v Rajasthan
Sagar Jogiyani could not add much to his fifth first-class century, but the lower order added to the Rajasthan bowlers' troubles as Saurashtra ended the second day on 475 for 7.
Rajasthan settled for Pankaj Singh as their only seam bowling option on an unforgiving Rajkot pitch, as he went wicketless for 23 overs. Their spinners bowled 160 overs with Ramesh Powar shouldering the bulk of that burden. He picked up four wickets in 61 overs, his best figures in nearly two years. Last season, when he played for Mumbai, he claimed only eight wickets and his most successful outing was with 2 for 139.
Aarpit Vasavada and captain Jaydev Shah were dismissed short of their half-centuries, but No. 7 Chirag Jani reached his maiden first-class fifty, and participated in a 52-run stand for the seventh wicket with Kamlesh Makvana, who remained unbeaten.
Railways 46 for 1 (Cheluvaraj 28) trail Madhya Pradesh 510 for 6 dec. (Choudhary 239*, Mishra 97) by 464 runs
Satyam Choudhary's dream match gained momentum on the second day as he converted his maiden century into a big double. He remained undefeated on 239 - more runs than he made in the entire 2012 season.
Choudhary, 22, spent over 10 hours at the crease before the declaration as Madhya Pradesh reached their third-highest score of 510. Captain Devendra Bundela, their most experienced cricketer, played deputy today, as the fifth-wicket partnership extended to 155 runs after Madhya Pradesh resumed the day on 282 for 3.
Rameez Khan chipped in with a half-century and helped MP past 500. Railways' seamers Shailender Gehlot and Krishnakant Upadhyay toiled for 41 and 44 overs respectively for one wicket apiece, while legspinner Karn Sharma was expensive, though he did pick up two wickets.
Railways were hampered further before close of play as last season's highest wicket-taker, Ishwar Pandey, bowled V Cheluveraj for 28 in the 13th over. Rain struck next as play was halted 52 minutes before scheduled close and Railways reached 46 for 1.
Bengal and Baroda are still waiting for play to begin as continuous showers washed out the second day in a row