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December 14, 2008
Goa 134 (RD Asnodkar 53*, SA Asnodkar 33, Thakur 6-30) and 196 for 4 (SA Asnodkar 84, Ratra 30*) beat Himachal Pradesh 218 (Mannu 56*, Dogra 53, Indulkar 41, D'Souza 4-52, Gadekar 3-58, Bandekar 3-63) and 108 (Dogra 37, D'Souza 3-26, Gadekar 3-27) by six wickets
Captain Swapnil Asnodkar led from the front as Goa upset Group A leaders Himachal Pradesh in Dharamshala. While the hosts were already through to the semi-finals, Goa are now almost certain of finishing second in the group, unless Haryana complete a remarkable final-day turnaround against Jammu & Kashmir in Rohtak.
Goa started the day needing 159 to win but lost opener Sagun Kamat with 15 runs knocked off. Aditya Angle fell five runs later, but Asnodkar got solid support from Advait Katkar. Asnodkar did the bulk of the scoring in their 86-run stand. Sarandeep Singh broke the partnership, dismissing Katkar for 14 - it took him 85 balls.
Asnodkar was unable to last till the end; he was out with Goa still needing 38. Himachal Pradesh, though, were denied any further wickets, with Ajay Ratra, the former India wicketkeeper, and Robin D'Souza guiding Goa to victory.
Jammu & Kashmir 314 and 40 for 2 (Javed Ahmed 20, Billa 2-25) lead Haryana 285 (Manav Sharma 98, Sumeet Sharma 49, Beigh 6-89) by 69 runs
The pressure is on Haryana. Goa's win means they now need to force a win on the final day to book a place in the semi-final. Haryana conceded the first-innings lead, but they stand a chance if they can bundle out Jammu & Kashmir quickly on Monday.
Haryana had stumbled to 113 for 4 in reply to Jammu & Kashmir's 314, but they put a fight to take the first-innings lead in Rohtak. The lead would have guaranteed them a semi-final place, but they eventually fell 29 short. Debutant Manav Sharma gave Haryana hope with his 98. He put on stands of 53 for the fifth wicket with Sachin Rana, and 59 for the seventh with Abir Lavasa. Sharma took Haryana to 274 for 8, but his dismissal on that score pretty much ended their chances. Medium-pacer Samiullah Beigh took 6 for 89 for the visitors.
Jitender Billa, Haryana's leading wicket-taker, struck twice in Jammu & Kashmir's innings, but Ian Dev Singh, the top scorer in their first innings, and Ahmed Nizam played out till stumps.
Jharkhand 301 and 144 for 7 (Tiwary 36, Cheruvathur 3-36) lead Kerala 376 (Fernandez 124, Prem 109, VG Nair 45) by 69 runs
Kerala, too, trail their opponents by 69, but with seven wickets down in Jharkhand's innings, they could end their campaign on a winning note. Preambhastn Prem, overnight on 84, scored his fourth first-class ton to help Kerala, resuming on 249 for 4, gained a 75-run first-innings lead. Wicketkeeper Vinan Nair chipped in with 45. For Jharkhand, medium-pacer Sujit Roy took 5 for 128.
Jharkhand failed to build any significant partnerships in their second innings, with Saurabh Tiwary - who made 125 in the first innings - top scoring with 36. Kerala captain Sony Cheruvathur took 3 for 36 off his ten overs, while Sreesanth had figures of 12-1-53-2.
Services 244 and 266 for 9 (Chatarjee 71, Konwar 3-51) lead Assam 178 by 332 runs
Services played out 93 overs on the third day to add 204 runs to their overnight 62 for 2 at the Palam A Ground in Delhi. They lost seven more wickets, but with a lead of 332, they can declare overnight and hope to bowl out Assam for their first win of the season.
Mrigen Talukdar struck twice as Services made a shaky start, but first-innings centurion Soomik Chatarjee continued his good form, scoring 71. Devendra Israni, Abhimanyu Singh and Sachin Nadkarni chipped in with 30s to extend the lead - all three were dismissed by offspinner Arnald Konwar. The final pair of Rakesh Kumar and Pankaj Kumar added an unbroken 44 runs.
Madhya Pradesh 453 for 7 dec and 0 for 1 lead Tripura 305 (Shetty 118, Dutta 43, Pandey 4-60) by 148 runs
Unlike Group A, the semi-finalists from Group B have already been decided, but the last round of matches will determine placings of the top two - Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. In Agartala, Madhya Pradesh almost enforced the follow-on against Tripura, with the hosts barely managing to go past the follow-on mark.
The visitors could have well been on the way to victory had it not been for Nishit Shetty, the former Mumbai batsman. Shetty's 118 revived Tripura after they slipped to 47 for 4 once Sanjay Pandey took two wickets in two balls. Shetty got support from the remaining batsmen: he added 97 with Rajesh Banik (30), 45 with Abhijit Dey (17), 47 with captain Tushar Saha (28) and 55 with Rana Dutta (43). But he was eight man out with the score on 291, still 13 short of preventing the follow-on. No. 9 Dutta, though, added 14 along with No. 10 Vineet Jain to make Madhya Pradesh bat again. Jain then struck off his second ball in the visitor's second innings. They played one over, and will resume at 0 for 1.
Bengal 371 for 6 (Saha 159, Chakrabarty 56, Chowdhury 42* Kundu 34*, Yadav 3-83) trail Vidarbha 403 by 32 runs
The fight for first place in Group B will go on to the final day. A career-best 159 from Wriddhiman Saha ensured Bengal were in the reckoning to take the first-innings lead against Vidarbha in Nagpur. Resuming on 149 for 4, the overnight pair of Saha and Dibyendu Chakrabarty took Bengal to 227. Umesh Yadav trapped Chakrabarty leg-before, but Saha added 102 with Avik Chowdhury.
Saha was finally dismissed by Shrikant Wagh; his 159 included 19 fours. An unbroken 42-run stand between Chowdhury - whose 42 came off 204 balls - and Ritam Kundu took Bengal to 371 for 6. They still need 33 to gain the first-innings lead.
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