Medium-pacers put Bengal on top
Bengal 138 for 2 (Tiwary 82*, Ghosh 47*) lead Tripura 88 (Bose 5-19, Dinda 3-37) by 50 runs
Bengal's chances of getting back in the reckoning for promotion to the Super League were boosted by a splendid performance from their medium-pacers at Eden Gardens. Tripura chose to bat in Kolkata, but their innings lasted only 26.5 overs. Ranadeb Bose took 5 for 19 in nine overs and was backed up by Ashok Dinda's 3 for 37 and Sourav Sarkar's 2 for 20. Only three batsmen made it to double figures, with Nishit Shetty, the former Mumbai player, scoring 38.
"I feel I was a bit lucky today," Bose, 29, told Kolkata's Telegraph. "Today I put the ball in the right areas and stuck to a plan. Picking up five wickets in the first spell does not happen regularly. I am very happy."
Bose, who crossed 200 wickets in 52 Ranji Trophy matches, dedicated his achievement to his coach Gopal Bose and father Ranajit Bose.
Bengal also had a disastrous start - both their openers scored ducks - but Arindam Ghosh and Manoj Tiwary set the platform for a big first-innings lead. Tiwary scored nearly as much as what all of Tripura's batsmen did and was unbeaten on 82 at stumps.
"Tomorrow will be a crucial day [and] we would like to put up a good score," said Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Bengal's captain. "[Its] good that Manoj is back in form. That is a good sign for us."
Himachal Pradesh 387 for 1 (Sangram Singh 202*, Thakkar 151*) v Jharkhand
Group A leaders Himachal Pradesh finished the first day in Ranchi on a commanding 387 for 1 and appear set to seal a place in the semi-final. Jharkhand put Himachal Pradesh in and, after a slow start, the visitors began to dominate. When wicketkeeper-opener Manish Gupta was dismissed, HP were on 42 for 1 in 15 overs but Sangram Singh and Bhavin Thakkar added 345 runs at a healthy run-rate - 4.60 an over - to put their side on top. Sangram scored his second double-century in successive innings, and Thakkar brought up his third consecutive ton. Their stand beat the previous second-wicket record of 222 for HP in the Ranji Trophy. Two hundred and twenty runs came in boundaries, and only Jharkhand's opening bowlers went for less than four an over.
Haryana 275 for 7 (Dewan 52, Sunny Singh 50, Mishra 48*, Bandekar 3-67) v Goa
Goa and Haryana are the likely contenders for the second place in Group A, and a lower-order stand of 78 between India spinner Amit Mishra and Dhruv Singh gave Haryana the edge after the first day at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Top-order batsmen Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh scored half-centuries but three strikes from Saurabh Bandekar, aided by two from left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati, left Haryana on 197 for 7. Bandekar picked up three wickets in his 26-over spell. Goa, however, were frustrated by an unbroken eighth-wicket stand that lasted 26.4 overs. Dhruv made a career-best 33, while Mishra finished the day unbeaten on 48.
Goa coach Dodda Ganesh rued the missed chances. "The players should realise that at this level the opponents will make you pay for your mistakes. Had we taken our chances, we could have been in a good position," Dodda told the Times of India.
Kerala 82 for 2 (Beigh 2-26) trail Jammu & Kashmir 184 (Khan 50, Yohannan 5-43, SR Nair 3-51) by 102 runs
A five-wicket haul for Tinu Yohannan gave Kerala the advantage on the first day against Jammu & Kashmir at Fort Maidan in Palakkad. Yohannan struck thrice as J&K were reduced to 34 for 4. Shafiq Khan, the visiting team captain, held the innings together with his half-century, and around him the other middle-order batsmen chipped in to ensure the bottom-ranked team got to a respectable score. Mohsin Iqbal hit six fours in a 22-ball 28, Samiullah Beigh made a patient 32 and Ahmed Nizam scored 24. Yohannan dismissed Khan and last-man Sameer Ali; left-arm spinner Sreekumar Nair had 3 for 51 in his 11 overs.
Sony Cheruvathur, the Kerala captain, was all praise for Yohannan. "He really bowled his heart out today," he told the Hindu. "And, I am glad we got the opportunity to bowl first on this track. I certainly would have bowled if I had won the toss."
Madhya Pradesh 196 for 9 (Dholpure 59, Nadkarni 3-26) v Services
Services, with no points from three games, performed impressively against Group B leaders Madhya Pradesh after choosing to field in Delhi. A joint effort from their bowlers kept MP to 196 for 9. The visitors, though, could have been dismissed for less: they were at 32 for 5 and 68 for 7.
The innings started disastrously for MP. The openers fell in the first three overs from Pankaj Kumar, and captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar was dismissed for a duck by Rakesh Kumar as they slumped to 10 for 3. Devendra Bundela played out 47 balls for his 20, and Brijesh Tomar 37 for 3, but they both were out to off-break bowler Sachin Nadkarni. Naman Ojha, Zafar Ali and Sanjay Pandey got into double figures as MP resisted, but it was Sunil Dholpure and Shantanu Pitre, Nos. 9 and 10, who revived the innings. Dholpure faced 142 balls for his 59, while Pitre was not out on 36 along with Yogesh Golwalkar, who will resume on 12.
Assam 183 for 4 (Martin 69*, Sharma 44) v Vidarbha
Assam overcame a shaky start to reach 183 for 4 on the first day in Nagpur. The recovery was led by Jacob Martin, the former Baroda batsman, who batted nearly five hours for his unbeaten 69. He put on 68 with Deepak Sharma, who made 44, and an unbroken 76 with Sarupam Purkayastha, whose 26 took 100 balls. Earlier, Mohammad Hashim and Umesh Yadav struck to reduce Assam to 39 for 3. Pritam Debnath, making his first-class debut, was dismissed first-ball in the first over of the match.