Ranji Trophy Super League, 5th round, 2nd day November 30, 2008

Gujarat seize control on wicket-filled day at Motera

Cricinfo staff

Punjab 137 (Gony 69, Makda 5-20, Trivedi 4-53) and 107 for 4 trail Gujarat 300 (Thaker 158, Parthiv 84, Gagandeep Singh 5-59, Gony 3-68) by 56 runs

RP Singh's strikes gave Uttar Pradesh the upper hand against Railways © Getty Images

Nineteen wickets fell on the second day at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad. Hosts Gujarat, currently third in Group A, lost their last five wickets for nine runs after play resumed, but recovered to bundle out Punjab and force the follow-on. Punjab were four down in the second innings, and it will take a lot of fight from their remaining batsmen to avoid defeat.

Bhavin Thaker, overnight on 151, watched from the other end as Gujarat slumped to 299 for 9. He was the last man to be dismissed, out to Gagandeep Singh, who took a five-for. Gujarat's opening bowlers, though, made sure their team didn't rue the collapse too much.

Ashraf Makda and Siddharth Trivedi took nine wickets between them to skittle Punjab out for 137. The best score among the top seven was 9, and the innings was in shambles at 16 for 7. The lower-order, though, nearly avoided the follow-on for Punjab. Charanjit Singh made 23 and Gagandeep scored 27, but it was No. 10 Manpreet Gony's 69 that gave them hope. Six fours and five sixes came in 50 balls for Gony, but Makda snapped up the final two wickets in two overs to make Punjab bat again.

Punjab's top order managed double figures the second time around, but the inability to carry on left their team in further strife.

Mohnish Parmar's action was again called into question when, in the last over before tea, square-leg umpire U Dubey called Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel for what looked like a serious discussion. Match referee Sanjay Patil declined to comment on the issue but told the Times of India: "I will be able to tell something on Monday after going through the video tape."

Parthiv, however, was all praise for his bowlers. "Siddharth is an experienced bowler and so is Makda, even Ishwar pitched in with two valuable wickets in the second innings," he said. The pitch was in anyway not assisting the fast bowlers that much but they took advantage of the conditions today and utilised it to their advantage."

BCCI's West Zone curator Dhiraj Parsana blamed the Punjab batsmen for getting themselves in trouble on what looked to be a sporting wicket. "We have the BCCI guidelines to prepare good sporting wickets," he told Mid-Day. "It was a perfect four-day wicket, with a little bit of carry for the bowlers and where batsmen would enjoy both front-foot and back-foot strokes."

"There was sarasari (average) grass cover. It was similar to the one for the India vs South Africa Test (played in April this year)," he said.

Railways 118 for 5 (Goud 50*, RP Singh 3-65) trail Uttar Pradesh 346 (P Kumar 98, Raina 66, Chawla 47, Kartik 3-60, Sharma 3-73, A Singh 3-86) by 228 runs

Praveen Kumar missed his maiden first-class century by two runs at the Karnail Singh Stadium, but his team finished with a firm grip on the game in Delhi. Praveen scored 47 on the second day, taking UP from 278 for 8 to 346 with help from wicketkeeper Amir Khan, before RP Singh struck thrice.

The last five wickets added 221 for UP, and it was captain Sanjay Bangar who got the breakthrough for Railways after a stubborn 77-run ninth-wicket stand. Murali Kartik ensured the last pair did not add to the total.

Railways were lucky to finish the day at 118 for 5. They had slumped to 12 for 4; RP took three, including Bangar and Harshad Rawle for ducks, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar ended Milind Tamhane's half-hour vigil for 2. Yere Goud and Karan Sharma held fort for over 25 overs as they added 60. Piyush Chawla broke the stand when he had Sharma caught behind during an economical spell, but Goud reached a half-century and carried on till stumps. With him was wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat, unbeaten on 28.

Abhay Sharma, the Railways coach, acknowledged the difficult task at hand. "It's difficult, we need partnerships to get out of the situation. But it's not impossible as we have done it before," he told the Hindu.

Rajasthan 106 for 5 (Makvana 2-28) trail Saurashtra 344 (Chauhan 114, Pathak 88, Jogiyani 49, Pankaj Singh 5-59, G Singh 4-119) by 238 runs

Another poor effort from Rajasthan's batsmen spoilt a fine comeback from their bowlers at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot. Resuming on 270 for 5, Saurashtra were kept to 344, with fast bowler Pankaj Singh and left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh doing the damage. Pankaj finished with five - he had jolted the hosts, cruising at 206 for 1, with three quick strikes on the opening day.

Pankaj completed his five-for early on the second day. Overnight centurion Bhushan Chauhan added only three runs before he was caught, and Rakesh Dhurv became the fourth to be caught behind off Pankaj. Sagar Jogiyani, resuming on 20, patiently worked his way to 49, getting a little support from the tailenders. Gajendra Singh prised out the final three wickets; he and Pankaj took nine between them.

Rajasthan lost their openers cheaply, and the hosts chipped away at the wickets after that. There were scores of 36, 24, and 20 from Nos 3 to 5, but they failed to build on their starts as Rajasthan closed needing a further 89 to avoid the follow-on; they have five wickets remaining.

Baroda 305 (YK Pathan 58, Shah 56, IK Pathan 51) lead Maharashtra 228 by 77 runs

Baroda's middle order came up with useful scores; however, none of them went on to make a big contribution as Maharashtra restricted their first-innings lead to 77 at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Two run-outs got rid of Yusuf Pathan and Pinal Shah when they were in the 50s, while Irfan Pathan, who took a five-wicket haul on the first day, was out for 51.

Yusuf, whose brisk unbeaten innings had rejuvenated Baroda after they slipped to 24 for 3, ticked the score from the overnight 88 for 3 to 130 for 4 along with Azharuddin Bilakhia. Yusuf had helped himself to a 53-ball 58, with ten fours, before he was run out. Bilakhia was dismissed soon after, missing a half-century by two runs.

At 130 for 5, the visitors would have sensed the chance of grabbing the first-innings lead, but Shah and Irfan took Baroda past 200. Irfan did not score as quickly as his elder brother, but had 11 fours in his 51. Shah dropped anchor at the other end, and even No. 8 Rajesh Pawar chipped in with 43. Baroda had reached 300 before Shah was the ninth man out; left-arm medium-pacer Samad Fallah ended the innings with his fifth wicket. Bad light prevented the start of Maharashtra's second innings.

Andhra 191 for 3 (Sumanth 70*, Rao 43*) v Tamil Nadu

No play was possible on the first day, and Andhra made slow progress on the second. They went at a run-rate of 2.12, losing three wickets for 191 runs against Tamil Nadu, who began the game as favourites against the bottom-ranked team in Group B.

Andhra's openers put on 23 in 10.4 overs before LNP Reddy was dismissed by C Ganapathy. It was another ten overs before D Prabhu Kiran fell with the score on 38 and by the time C Suresh got rid of opener Hemal Watekar, Andhra were at 114 in 60.1 overs - Wateker played 171 balls for his 39, which included two fours and a six.

The Tamil Nadu bowlers failed to take a wicket from there on. B Sumanth hit three fours in an unbeaten 70, while Gnaneswara Rao, the Andhra captain, was the most attacking batsman. His 43 not out included seven fours, and came at a strike-rate of 46.73 - the next-best was Sumanth's 32.86.

Delhi 78 (Khatua 3-17, B Mohanty 3-26, D Mohanty 3-25) and 150 (Narwal 66, D Mohanty 4-31, Khatua 4-58) beat Orissa 80 (Ishant 7-24, Awan 2-1) and 96 (Ishant 4-27, Narwal 3-25) by 52 runs

Dropped catches don't come more poignant. With Delhi at 102 for 8, Niranjan Behera dropped a sitter from Sumit Narwal at deep fine leg. Orissa got a wicket next ball, but Narwal went on to score a match-changing unbeaten half-century. Had Orissa taken that catch, they might have been chasing 101, and in the end they were bowled out for 96 on a wet and green pitch that claimed 40 wickets in 128.5 overs. While Orissa were left to rue that missed chance, Delhi got their season back on track, taking five points, and also dangerous momentum, with them. (Click here for the full report.)