Gujarat share top spot after ten-wicket victory
Gujarat 300 (Thaker 158, Parthiv 84, Gagandeep 5-59) and 34 for 1 beat Punjab 137 (Gony 69, Makda 5-20, Trivedi 4-53) and 192 (Kaul 56*, Trivedi 5-43) by 10 wickets
Medium-pacer Siddharth Trivedi's 12th five-wicket haul set up Gujarat's comfortable win over Punjab in Ahmedabad to take them to joint top spot in Group A while Punjab are now second from bottom, 11 points behind.
Punjab resumed with five wickets in hand and needing 56 runs to avoid an innings defeat. Overnight batsmen Uday Kaul and Ankur Kakkar resisted for 10 overs before Trivedi struck twice in five balls, getting rid first of Kakkar and then bowling Ravneet Ricky. The end came closer when Charanjit Singh fell lbw to Trivedi two overs later and Gagandeep Singh was bowled by medium-pacer Ishwar Choudhary. No. 10 Manpreet Gony, who top scored in the first innings, managed only 5 second time round and fell just with Punjab needing one more run to make Gujarat bat again. Kaul remained unbeaten as the wickets tumbled and brought up his fourth first-class half-century while putting on 29 with last man Varun Khanna, who resisted for almost an hour.
Gujarat's openers Nilesh Modi and Bhavik Thaker, however, needed little more than six overs to knock off the runs needed to give their side six points.
Parthiv Patel, the Gujarat captain, commended his players for a job well done. "I never expected to be over in three days but it was a good team effort here as bowlers, batsmen and fielders all contributed to an wonderful victory," he told the Times of India. "But we have two away matches to play against Rajasthan in Jaipur and Orissa in Cuttack, so we are looking forward to those matches
"We are not too much bothered about the situation in the table and would like to play our brand of cricket and I believe rest will fall in place."
Trivedi shared a similar sentiment. "We have players who can play in different conditions," he said. "If someone gives us a green top, we have good seamers. If it is a spinning track, we have good spinners and if it is a batting track, then we have the batsmen for it so nothing is a worry. We just want to perform to the best of our ability and the result can take care of itself."
"Earlier, I used to depend too much on my natural out swingers and wait for the batsmen to make a mistake but now I have matured a lot as a bowler. I am also reading the wicket much better than I used to earlier and so I think that has been the reason for my success," he said.
Saurashtra 344 (Chauhan 114, Pathak 88, Pankaj 5-59) beat Rajasthan 185 (Bishnoi 67*, Makvana 4-74) and 85 (Makvana 4-31) by an innings and 74 runs
Joining Gujarat in the top spot are Saurashtra, who took 15 wickets on a dramatic day in Rajkot to thrash bottom-placed Rajasthan. Offspinner Kamlesh Makvana was the star, taking four wickets in each innings, ably supported by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja who took five wickets in the match.
Rajasthan had resumed on 106 for 5, and the overnight pair of Rajesh Bishnoi and Nikhil Doru stitched together 48 more runs. Ravindra then struck, getting Doru lbw for 18. That started a procession of Rajsthan wickets and Bishnoi could only watch from the other end as his side crumbled to 185 all out, the last five wickets going down for 29 runs.
That collapse was merely a taste of what was to come in the second innings for Rajasthan. Only two batsmen Vineet Saxena and Robin Bist, managed to get into double digits and though they put on a 50-run stand, Rajasthan folded for 85. Saurashtra's medium-pacers Sandeep Jobanputra and Balkrishna Jadeja took three early wickets before the spinners, Ravindra and Makvana, finished the job.
Tamil Nadu 131 for 1 (Mukund 72*, Badrinath 54*) trail Andhra 283 (Sumanth 90, Gnaneswara Rao 62) by 152 runs
The clash between Andhra and Tamil Nadu in Vijaywada, where the first day was washed out, has turned into a scrap for the first-innings lead. Tamil Nadu are slight favourites to gain three points after unbeaten half-centuries from Abhinav Mukund and S Badrinath.
The pair's efforts followed the good work of their side's bowlers. Andhra were looking set for a total in excess of 300 when B Sumanth and Y Gnaneswara Rao added 38 runs to Andhra's overnight 191 for 3, with both batsmen making fifties. Tamil Nadu's medium-pacers L Balaji and P Amarnath, however, sparked a collapse by getting three quick wickets, including those of the two set batsmen. Offspinner R Ashwin chipped in with three more and Andhra slid to 283 all out, the last seven wickets going down for 64 runs.
Andhra got an early breakthrough when D Kalyankrishna dismissed M Vijay for a duck but Mukund and Badrinath remained undefeated till stumps to frustrate the hosts.
Maharashtra 228 and 273 for 6 (Shrikhande 114, Bhosale 69) lead Baroda 305 by 194 runs
Nine points off the pace, Baroda desperately need an outright win to get their season back on track. However, a century from Maharashtra's Ameya Shrikhande and a 168-ball 69 from opener Rohan Bhosale ensured they would have to toil hard on the final day if they are to get their five points.
Irfan Pathan got rid of Harshad Khadiwale in the first over of the day but a 174-run stand between Shrikhande and Bhosale made them wait till the 52nd over for their next wicket. Baroda have a star-filled bowling line-up but it was the unheralded left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar who got that much-needed breakthrough, dismissing Shrikhande. Things started to go wrong for Maharashtra when Munaf Patel got Bhosale to give a catch to the keeper, and Pawar prised out two more quick wickets. They had slipped to 233 for 6 when Yusuf Pathan trapped No. 6 Deepak Shilamkar lbw for 11. Wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani and Digambar Waghmare hung on for 86 minutes to swell the lead towards 200 and keep Maharashtra afloat.
Uttar Pradesh 346 and 118 for 4 (Srivastava 51*, Parida 2-7) lead Railways 200 (Goud 78*, Chawla 5-33) by 264 runs
Yere Goud's stodgy defence stood between Uttar Pradesh and a shot at an outright win, as he helped Railways avoid the follow-on. That brought UP out to bat and, in fading light, they didn't push for a win despite their 146-run first-innings lead. In 50 second-innings overs, they managed only 118, and were content to protect the three points the first-innings lead gave them. Click here for the full report.