Bengal and Kerala complete easy victories
Bengal 307 (Tiwary 109, Ghosh 50) beat Tripura 88 (Bose 5-19) and 208 (Shetty 73, Dutta 58, Chowdhury 3-5) by an innings and 11 runs
It took Bengal only 28.2 overs on the third day to get six points and move into second place in Group B. Tripura resumed with five wickets in hand needing another 108 runs to make Bengal bat again, but lost captain Tushar Saha, lbw to Ashok Dinda, in the third over of the day.
Nishit Shetty, top scorer in the first-innings, and wicketkeeper Rajib Dutta then made half-centuries to raise Tripura's hopes of at least avoiding an innings defeat. They had put on 78 before medium-pacer Avik Chowdhury struck; he took three wickets in less than three overs to hasten Tripura's defeat - the last four wickets fell for 11 runs.
This is Bengal's second successive innings victory after they had opened their campaign with a draw against Madhya Pradesh.
Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla said his team was to continue the good run after back-to-back wins. "Everybody has done well in this match (against Tripura)," he told Kolkata-based, the Telegraph. "We have played well but I still believe that there is room for improvement."
He said he was also expecting a tough fight against Assam up next. "Assam match will be a tough tie - a very important match. But if we can stay positive and continue the momentum, I am sure we will do well in Guwahati also."
Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary and Dinda were fined 60% and 50% of their match fees respectively, after match referee KVSD Kamaraju found them guilty of a level 2 offence. While Tiwary was reported by the umpires for showing dissent after being given out lbw on Sunday, Dinda was charged on Monday after intentionally throwing the ball back at a batsman, though there was no chance of a run out.
Services 140 (Golwalkar 4-30) and 20 for 2 need another 304 runs to beat Madhya Pradesh 223 and 240 for 2 dec (Saxena 100*)
Madhya Pradesh's position as frontrunners is threatened by Bengal's charge but a superb third day in Delhi left MP well-placed to gain a seven-point cushion at the top of the table.
They started off by dismantling the Services lower order, getting the last five wickets for 33 runs in under 18 overs. Then their batsmen, riding on the back of Jalaj Saxena's century, ran up 240 in 66 overs setting Services a target of 324 in little more than a day. Saxena was the star but there were important cameos from the other batsmen as well, opener Himalaya Sagar making 45, a score matched by Devendra Bundela, and captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar chipping in with 36.
MP further strengthened their position by taking two wickets in the five overs before stumps.
Kerala 299 (Prem 124*, Nizam 4-47) and 87 for 2 beat Jammu and Kashmir 184 (Shafiq 50, Yohannan 5-43) and 199 (ID Singh 61) by eight wickets
Kerala secured their first win of the season by beating bottom-placed Jammu and Kashmir in Palakkad. Kerala now have nine points from four games while J&K remain on one point.
J&K began the day well, moving to 108 for 2 with the help of a half-century from Ian Dev Singh and 44 from Manoj Joglekar. It was all downhill from there though as none of their other batsmen made significant contributions. They lost wickets periodically and crumbled to 199 all out. Medium-pacer K Anil Kumar was the most effective of the Kerala bowlers, finishing with 3 for 25.
Kerala had little trouble knocking off the 85 needed to win, reaching the target in the 23rd over after Sambasiva Sarma top scored with 36.
Sony Cheruvathur, the Kerala captain, said he was pleased with the win and the momentum his team would be carrying into the next game against Jharkhand. "This win could not have come at a better time and I thought every player contributed," he told the Hindu. "Of course, it was Rohan and Tinu who really brought us back into the match. The way Rohan batted with the tail was remarkable."
Assam 299 and 10 for 0 trail Vidarbha 324 for 9 dec (Wagh 110*, Shrivastava 68, Das 5-83) by 15 runs
It was an enthralling battle for the first-innings lead in Nagpur. Vidarbha had been reduced to 269 for 9, 30 runs short of Assam's total but last man Umesh Yadav hung on for 70 minutes to allow No. 6 Shrikant Wagh to make his maiden century and the crucial runs for Vidarbha that are likely to fetch them three points.
It was Vidharbha who held the advantage mid-way through the day, having moved to 224 for 5 with the help of Shalabh Shrivastava's 68, his highest first-class score. Medium-pacer Krishna Das almost single-handedly brought Assam back into the match, taking five wickets to slice through the Vidharbha lower order but was unable to prise out the final wicket Assam needed.
Haryana 287 and 252 for 7 (Dhruv 68*, Mishra 54*) lead Goa 190 by 349 runs
After conceding a 97-run first-innings lead in Rohtak, Goa had fought their way back by reducing Haryana to 129 for 7, but unbeaten half-centuries from Dhruv Singh and Amit Mishra helped the hosts regain control.
Haryana lost both their openers within the day's first eight overs and struggled to string together meaningful partnerships. The wickets kept falling at regular intervals and when two went down in the space of eight balls, Haryana were seven down and only 228 ahead. Dhruv and Mishra, who had added 82 in the first innings, did even better this time; Dhruv helped himself to eight fours on his way to 68 while Mishra made his ninth half-century to swell the lead to 349 by the end of the day.
Dodda Ganesh, the Goa coach, believed securing a win would be tough. "I think there's no chance of us going out for victory, " he told the Times of India. "Our main objective would now be to play the whole day and force a draw."
He was confident though, that a draw in this match, would still keep Goa in the hunt for a spot in the semi-finals. "If we eke out a draw against Haryana we can still earn a point and stay on par with them in terms of points. This will give us an opportunity to vie for a victory in our last match against Himachal Pradesh," he said.
Jharkhand 341 for 6 (Tiwary 144*, Vardhan 66) trail Himachal Pradesh 551 for 8 dec by 210 runs
Saurabh Tiwary's unbeaten century led Jharkhand's attempt to steal three points by overtaking Himachal Pradesh's mammoth first-innings score. A half-century from Manish Vardhan and forties from Ishank Jaggi and Amir Hashmi helped Tiwary keep Jharkhand on track for most of the day. They had progressed to 293 for 3 with 16 overs left for stumps before losing three quick wickets and their way. Much now depends on Tiwary but with none of the other batsmen having averages to boast of, Himachal will fancy their chances on the final day.