Ranji Trophy Plate League, semi-finals, 2nd day December 16, 2010

Harpreet century gives MP lead

ESPNcricinfo staff

Madhya Pradesh took the crucial first-innings lead against Andhra at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, and are now favourites to make it to the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals. Andhra's 230 had started to look a lot bigger when they reduced MP to 19 for 3. But captain Devendra Bundela and Harpreet Singh got the hosts out of trouble with a 178-run partnership for the fourth wicket. After Bundela was caught behind off seamer P Vijaykumar for 48, the 19-year-old Harpreet got his maiden first-class century. MP ended the day at 299 for 7, 69 ahead. Andhra's opening bowlers had given them some hope in the morning. Vijaykumar dismissed Jalaj Saxena for a duck in the second over, and then Doddapaneni Kalyankrishna took two quick wickets. But Bundela and Harpreet took the game away from Andhra who will need to effect a turnaround and look for a win to qualify for the quarter-finals.

A double-century by Aakash Chopra took Rajasthan to a huge total against Maharashtra at the Golf Club Ground in Nasik. The visitors finished the second day at 551 for 6 with Chopra still unbeaten on 262 - his highest first-class score. Rajasthan had set the base on the first day, getting to 293 for 2 with Chopra batting on 145. They continued to torment Maharashtra on Thursday. Robin Bist got to 81, which was surprisingly only Rajasthan's second half-century after Chopra's massive score. Maharashtra's bowlers had only themselves to blame as they gave away 74 runs in extras - 25 of those coming from no-balls. With a first-innings lead good enough to take either side in to the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals, Rajasthan may not be in a hurry to declare on Friday.