Ishwar Pandey puts Madhya Pradesh on top
Medium-pacer Ishwar Pandey put Madhya Pradesh on top against Gujarat at the Emerald High School Ground in Indore with his maiden haul of five or more wickets. Pandey was supported by fellow seamer TP Sudhindra, who picked up 3 for 33 and the pair shared nine wicket while bowling out Gujarat for 130. Asked to bat, openers Avi Barot and Priyank Kirit Panchal added 44 but the innings fell apart not long after. Sudhindra started the slide, dismissing Barot in the 16th over and Pandey did the damage from the other end. Only Bhavin Thaker offered any significant resistance in the middle order, top-scoring with 38, and the innings folded in 66.3 overs. MP lost their openers inside the first four overs but Mohnish Mishra and Devendra Bundela steadied the ship, reaching 51 for 2 at stumps.
Rakesh Solanki's fifth first-class century helped Baroda reach a strong position against Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Solanki was unbeaten on 109 at stumps, after adding 154 in a still ongoing stand with captain Pinal Shah, who's batting on 83. Baroda, after being put in, lost their openers early but Solanki, along with Ambati Rayudu, helped their team recover. The pair put together 88 before Rayudu was dismissed by Rajat Bhatia for 39. Solanki and Pinal, from the 31st over onwards, built a solid partnership - Pinal struck 15 fours, just as many as Solanki. Prior to the start of fourth round, the Baroda coach Sanath Kumar had backed Solanki, 26, to delivery after he'd been dismissed on several occasions after getting starts but without scoring big.
Honours were shared on the first day of the game between Haryana and Bengal at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Haryana, presumably, would have retreated to their dressing rooms thinking that shouldn't have been the case- they were going along well at 198 for 1, with centuries from Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh, but lost their way after that, eventually finishing on 258 for 5 at stumps. Opener Nitin Saini fell early, in the 13th over, but Dewan and Sunny guided their team to a position of advantage, adding 161. Their stand ended when Ashok Dinda had Dewan caught behind, and Haryana had a hiccup when they lost three more wickets before the close. Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena got two of those, dismissing Abhimanyu Khod and Priyank Tehlan. In the interim, Sunny was bowled by Laxmi Shukla for 111. Three wickets fell for 29, marking Bengal's comeback.
A wet outfield delayed the start of Karnataka's game against Saurashtra considerably at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Only 24 overs were possible, and an attacking start by Robin Uthappa, who made 70 in 64 balls, helped Karnataka reach 104 for 1 at the close. Uthappa struck 12 fours in a 95-run opening stand with KB Pawan. He was trapped in front by Jaidev Unadkat.
A patient, unbeaten maiden first-class ton from Kaustubh Pawar put Mumbai in control against Orissa at the DRIEMS Ground in Cuttack. Pawar was part of a 123-run stand with the in-form Abhishek Nayar, who made 71 at a fair clip, off 99 balls, with eight fours and a six. The captain Wasim Jaffer, batting at No.4, contributed 35 and Suryakumar Yadav gave Pawar company in an ongoing stand of 111, making 69 himself. Pawar dropped anchor at one end, striking 17 fours in the process, and was assisted ably by his partners as Mumbai reached 311 for 3 at stumps. Mumbai's leading fast bowler Ajit Agarkar flew back to Mumbai on the day of the match, and subsequently said he was disappointed at being dropped from the final XI.
The going was slow at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali but Punjab laid the foundation for a big score against Railways. They reached 212 for 3 at stumps, and were 97 for 3 in 51.3 overs at one stage. Their captain Uday Kaul led them to a position of advantage, making an unbeaten 83, in the company of Mandeep Singh, who made 61 in a stand of 115 that's yet to be broken. The pair also infused the innings with some fluency, striking 19 fours between them. Prior to their getting together, opener Inder Singh had made 20 in 93 balls and Karan Goel, 36 in 142.
A series of steady contributions from their batsmen gave Uttar Pradesh the upper hand against defending champions Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Asked to bat, Eklavya Dwivedi fell for a first-ball duck but the others chipped in to guide the innings. Tanmay Srivastava made 50, adding 115 with Mohammad Kaif, who scored a half-century himself. There was a minor hiccup when Kaif and Prashant Gupta fell in quick succession, within a space of five runs, but Parvinder Singh and Arish Alam made unbeaten half-centuries, at a healthy run-rate, to take their team to 292 for 4 at stumps from 176 for 4.