Badrinath and Abhinav tons power TN
S Badrinath scored a century on his second game back from injury and Abhinav Mukund continued his prolific scoring with an unbeaten 150, as Tamil Nadu reached 288 for 2 against Gujarat at Motera. Badrinath, the top run-getter in last year's Ranji Trophy, missed the first three matches of Tamil Nadu's Ranji campaign this season with a shoulder injury he sustained during the Challenger Trophy. He took his time constructing his first century of the season, taking 214 balls to score 102. He was at the wicket early; Tamil Nadu lost a wicket in the first over after choosing to bat. M Vijay was caught in front by an Ishwar Chaudhary that nipped in from outside off. That dismissal was a false dawn for Gujarat; the next wicket came in the 72nd over of the day after Badrinath and Abhinav had put on 223 runs for the second wicket.
Abhinav got a reprieve early in his innings when what looked like a clear lbw was given not out. He cashed in and scored 150 not out off 264 balls. It was Abhinav's fifth first-class century of 2011. He already has one double-century in this year's Ranji Trophy and has the opportunity to get another as Tamil Nadu go into the second day in a strong position. Gujarat's bowlers did not get help from the Motera pitch, though Faisal Dudhat did get some reverse-swing late in the day.
Ashok Dinda's impressive season continued with another four-wicket haul, which helped Bengal reduce Delhi to 252 for 8 at Eden Gardens. It was a day on which Delhi lost wickets in clusters. Dinda struck twice in the 11th over, after Bengal had chosen to field, to leave Delhi 30 for 2. Shikhar Dhawan scored his first half-century in seven innings and shared a 69-run partnership with Yogesh Nagar to get Delhi back on track. Dinda returned to remove Nagar and Dhawan was dismissed by Laxmi Ratan Shukla 6.2 overs later. That double-strike left Delhi in trouble again but Rajat Bhatia scored 59 not out and Puneet Bisht scored 40 to take the score to 228 for 5. Three wickets fell in the 12 overs before stumps to make it Bengal's day, and leave Dinda with figures of 4 for 55. That puts him second on the list of wicket-takers this season with 25.
Naman Ojha hit his second hundred in as many innings, and third of the season, to take Madhya Pradesh to 260 for 3 against Haryana at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Ojha hit five sixes and 22 fours on the way to 160 off 226 balls. He dominated stands of 102, with opening partner Zafar Ali, and 101, with Devendra Bundela. When he was dismissed for 160 in the 75th over MP's score was still 239. Bundela remained not out on 25 at stumps, along with Udit Birla, who had scored 29.
Shivakant Shukla's 96 was the highlight of the day at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi as Railways made slow progress against Orissa to end on 204 for 5. Shukla batted till the penultimate over, facing 264 balls, hitting 12 fours and a six. Railways lost Shreyas Khanolkar early but the partnership that stood out was the 107-run stand for the third wicket between Shukla and Sanjay Bangar. Bangar made 46 before he was trapped lbw by Biplab Samantray, who struck again the following ball to remove Prashant Awasthi. Shukla was unlucky to fall four short of his ton, lbw to Govind Podder. Mahesh Rawat remained unbeaten on 38.
The runs flowed in Jaipur as Vineet Saxena and Puneet Yadav scored centuries to lift Rajasthan to 369 for 7 against Saurashtra. The pair added 215 for the fifth wicket after the seam trio of Jaidev Unadkat, Sandip Maniar and Siddarth Trivedi left the hosts in trouble at 103 for 4. The pair were together for close to 50 overs before Yadav fell for 108, caught behind off Trivedi. Saxena departed four overs later in similar manner off the same bowler. Both centurions hit 15 fours each. Trivedi managed to sneak in another wicket, that of Dishanth Yagnik to end the day with 4 for 69.
A century by Sushant Marathe and a fifty by Kaustubh Pawar took Mumbai to a reasonable 203 for 3 against Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow, though only 63 overs were bowled. The pair resisted for 56 overs to add 189 for the first wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar dislodged the stand when he removed Marathe for 102, an innings which included 15 fours. Kumar struck soon after, sending back Abhishek Nayar. Mumbai suffered another jolt when Pawar departed for a patient 76 off 191 balls, off what turned out to be the last ball of the day.