Bhatia ton leads Delhi's recovery
An unbeaten 163 from the captain Rajat Bhatia helped Delhi make a remarkable comeback against Bengal and finish ahead after the second day at Eden Gardens. Delhi started the day on 252 for 8 but a 132-run stand between Bhatia and Manoj Chauhan lead the visitors to 392. In a further blow to the hosts, Delhi's medium-pacers reduced Bengal to 84 for 4, leaving the visitors in a favourable position to take the first-innings lead.
This is the second time in two weeks that Bengal let their grip on an opponent slip: they had Tamil Nadu at 140 for 5 last week before bad fielding let L Balaji's side recover to 391. Bengal lost that match by ten wickets. On Wednesday, Bhatia received support from the 19-year-old Chauhan, who was praised by his captain for putting up staunch resistance for four hours. Chauhan made only 28 but he lasted 151 deliveries. At the other end Bhatia, who represents Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, went on to complete his second century of the season and fulfil a dream of getting three figures on his favourite ground.
Bengal's reply got off to a rocky start when Arindam Das was bowled by Kuldeep Rawat in the second over. Shreevats Goswami was run out for 14, and then Pradeep Sangwan struck twice in the 20th over, trapping Writam Porel lbw and getting Shami Ahmed to edge behind. Bengal needed 158 more runs to avoid the follow-on but had Manoj Tiwary, fresh from his first ODI hundred, and Sourav Ganguly at the crease.
Abhinav Mukund completed his second double-century of the season, and Dinesh Karthik and K Vasudevadas made hundreds too, as Tamil Nadu plundered 693 for 8 against Gujarat at Motera. Abhinav moved to second on the run-charts in the Elite division after making 220 from his overnight score of 150. Karthik then got his first hundred of the season but Gujarat did not get any respite even after he was dismissed. Vasudevadas, who had scored his second first-class century in Tamil Nadu's pervious match, followed it up with his third. He raced to 105 off 150 in a brisk partnership of 132 with R Prasanna, who scored 69 off 95 balls. Left-arm spinner Parth Parikh had to bowl 62 overs on debut and had figures of 3 for 226.
Gujarat's bowlers were wayward according to their coach Jayendra Sehgal. "They bowl two, three good deliveries and then throw away the advantage by bowling bad balls," Sehgal said.
If you looked at the scorecard at tea on the second day, you'd be forgiven for thinking the surface at the Chinnaswamy Stadium had transformed overnight from the featherbed it was on the first. Punjab had sauntered to 278 for 4 on Tuesday, but ten wickets went down in the first two sessions today for 154. It took a free-swinging, unbroken 83-run stand between Stuart Binny and CM Gautam in the evening to show there were no gremlins in the track. Karnataka ended on 183 for 5 in response to Punjab's 357. Read the full report here.
Medium-pacer TP Sudhindra took four wickets after Devendra Bundela scored a hundred to give Madhya Pradesh control of their game against Haryana in Rohtak. Sudhindra's strikes reduced Haryana to 22 for 5 in reply to MP's 487. Sudhindra, who is on top of the wicket-charts in the Elite division, ripped through Haryana's top order. During a spell of 7-2-11-4, he had Rahul Dewan caught behind in the third over, dismissed Sunny Singh and Prateek Pawar off consecutive deliveries in the fifth, and bowled Nitin Saini in the ninth.
The collapse came after Haryana were made to toil in the field for a second day. Bundela got his first hundred of the season and shared a 157-run partnership with Murtaza Ali. Though the tail collapsed after that, MP finished with a big total, and have an opportunity to push for a win after Haryana's top-order crumble.
Mahesh Rawat, the Railways wicketkeeper, completed a century to get his side to 379 but Orissa's openers reached 108 for 0 by stumps on the second day at the Karnail Singh Stadium in in Delhi. Rawat scored 103, his second hundred of the season, and Ashish Yadav made 68 to take Railways from their overnight score of 204 for 5 to 379. Orissa's openers started the response smoothly, with Parthiv Patel scoring 41 not out and Subhrajit Sahoo reaching 60 not out.
Rajasthan's medium-pacers, led by Pankaj Singh, reduced Saurashtra to 215 for 7 in in Jaipur, making the hosts favourites to take the first-innings lead. Responding to Rajasthan's 396, Saurashtra got off to a confident start and were in control at 172 for 2. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Bhushan Chauhan, who had scored a century at home against Mumbai in the previous round, had scored fluent fifties. But aggressive spells of fast bowling by Pankaj and the debutant Rituraj Singh put the visitors on the backfoot as five wickets fell in about an hour late in the day. Rituraj cut a ball that cleaned up Chauhan and then he induced an edge from Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah, which Robin Bist caught behind the stumps. Pankaj struck the decisive blow as he bowled Pujara, who was moving towards his first century of the season. Pankaj's 4 for 49 has now given Rajasthan strong hopes of grabbing vital first-innings points.
Fog delayed the start of play for hundred minutes on a shortened day in in Lucknow but Mumbai reached a commanding 414 for 9 against Uttar Pradesh thanks to half-centuries from captain Wasim Jaffer and Hiken Shah. UP's attack, which included RP Singh and Piyush Chawla, struggled to dominate the visitors on a placid pitch as they spent the second successive day in the field. Mumbai, with seventeen points, are virtually assured of a knockout berth and were not worried about scoring at a faster rate. Jaffer had a century partnership with nightwatchman Dhawal Kulkarni. Hiken Shah, who had scored a century in the previous round against Saurashtra, made a fluent half-century. UP, who have twelve points so far from five matches, need to take the first-innings lead to get the three points to keep their knockout chances alive.