Madhya Pradesh crumble for 63
A clinical bowling performance coupled with some steady batting gave Baroda complete control of their match against Madhya Pradesh at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Madhya Pradesh were bundled out for 63 - only two batsmen reached double figures - before Baroda reached 207 for 4 at the end of the first day, a lead of 144. Firdaush Bhaja, playing in just his third first-class game, and India allrounder Irfan Pathan did most of the damage, helped in part by some poor shot selection, as the visitors slumped to 32 for 8 in just the 18th over. A ninth-wicket stand of 29 delayed the final blow but the run-out of last man Amit Sharma typified Madhya Pradesh's poor approach. Having driven the ball down the ground, Sharma needlessly took on Yusuf Pathan's arm in attempting a third run, and a direct hit found him well short of his ground. Irfan ended up with figures of 3 for 23 while Bhaja took 4 for 19.
Kedhar Devdhar fell for a duck and Rakesh Solanki for 15, but Aditya Waghmode and Ambati Rayudu ensured Baroda pressed home their advantage with a 144-run partnership. Waghmode narrowly missed out a century, falling against the run of play for 99, and an over later Yusuf Pathan holed out to mid-on off the last ball of the day to give Madhya Pradesh some late joy, but the visitors will be hard pressed to avoid defeat from here.
After their first game was all but completely rained out, Tamil Nadu got their 2011-12 Ranji Trophy campaign up and running with a disciplined bowling performance against Haryana at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk in Chennai. Haryana made a positive start after choosing to bat, reaching 83 for 1, but L Balaji struck twice in the same over as the visitors stumbled to 90 for 5. Priyank Tehlan led the rebuilding effort with 95, adding 81 with Prateek Pawar, before he fell short of a hundred with 9.3 overs left in the day. Balaji took three wickets, while Aushik Srinivas and Sunny Gupta split the other four to fall on the first day, leaving Haryana on 264 for 7.
The two Patels, Parthiv and Niraj, both made centuries to steer Gujarat to 358 for 6 against Delhi at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Valsad. Parthiv made exactly 100, his second successive century to start the season, and it came in aggressive fashion - he faced only 120 balls and struck 12 fours and a six. Niraj was more circumspect, as he played the anchor role, needing 203 deliveries for his unbeaten 111. Young left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra was the pick of the bowlers on the day and picked up four wickets.
Robin Uthappa made a typically aggressive ton while Murali Kartik took five wickets to leave honours even on the first day between Karnataka and Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi. Uthappa blazed away from the start, smashing 10 fours and five sixes, but he received little support from the rest of the top order, who struggled against Kartik's left-arm spin. Uthappa retired hurt on 100 with the score at 140 for 3, but returned after Karnataka had stumbled to 259 for 6. Unfortunately for the visitors, he was caught off the last ball of the day, having made 117 off 141 deliveries. "It is my natural style," Uthappa told Hindustan Times. "That's the pace I like to play at." Kartik, who was wicketless in the opening game, ended the day with 5 for 76.
A lower order fightback helped Orissa recover from 56 for 5 to 246 for 9 after seamers Brainder Sran and Sandeep Sharma had struck the early blows for Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. It was a bit of a procession after Orissa were put in to bat, as Sran struck three times to reduce the visitors to 23 for 3 before Sharma picked up two wickets to leave Orissa reeling. Their revival was first led by Subhrajit Sahoo, who added 49 with Lagnajit Samal and 47 with Deepak Behera, before becoming Sharma's third victim after making a fighting 56. It was then carried on by Behera and Basant Mohanty, who put on 83 together, by far the highest partnership of the innings.
Behera ultimately fell to Sharma two short of his half-century, having spent three hours and three minutes at the crease, but Mohanty was still battling on 58 at the close. India offspinner Harbhajan Singh, who was left out of the squad for the second Test against West Indies, had figures of 1 for 44 from 18 overs.
Tanmay Srivastava batted through the first day to guide Uttar Pradesh to 266 for 4 against Saurashtra at the Cantonment Board Ground in Meerut. Srivastava made Saurashtra regret their decision to field as he posted his first-century of the season, and shared three substantial partnerships in the course of anchoring the innings. The visitors were boosted by the two wickets they took in the last session, as Sandip Maniar struck off consecutive balls to remove Parvinder Singh for 47 and India batsman Suresh Raina for a golden duck.