Love Ablish and Manpreet Gony take Gujarat to task
Punjab 77 for 2 trail Gujarat 160 (Ablish 6-79, Gony 4-38) by 83 runs
Seamers Manpreet Gony and Love Ablish were unstoppable as Punjab skittled out Gujarat inside 45 overs on the opening day in Mohali. Opting to field, the home team struck in the very first over with Ablish removing Rikin Chauhan for a duck. But a solid second-wicket stand of 75 between Jay Desai and Niraj Patel followed, before Gony sent back Niraj. Things went downhill for the visitors from there as they lost their last nine wickets for 85 runs. Ablish was the wrecker-in-chief, ending with six wickets, while Gony accounted for the remaining four. Punjab's laboured response was anchored by opener Ravi Inder Singh who made 35 before falling to legspinner Salil Yadav with stumps in sight.
Tamil Nadu 293 for 8 (Ashwin 107*, Dinesh Karthik 70, Malik 3-79) v Himachal Pradesh
A strong lower-order revival initiated by captain Dinesh Karthik and continued by Ravichandran Ashwin steered table-toppers Tamil Nadu to safety against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala. Electing to bat, Tamil Nadu saw their plan backfire and lost half the side for 83, with fast men Vikramjeet Malik and Mohinderraj Sharma doing the early damage. Dinesh Karthik then anchored the innings through a responsible partnership of 49 with Chandrasekar Ganapathy. Once Karthik was run out with the score on 156, Ashwin took centrestage with an attractive hundred, his second first-class century. Ashwin found willing allies in Lakshmipathy Balaji, adding 50 for the eighth wicket, and Yo Mahesh, with whom he put on an unbeaten stand of 87. Himachal Pradesh will hope to regroup tomorrow and finish off the visitors early.
Mumbai 2 for 1 trail Railways 187 (Kulkarni 3-24, Abdulla 3-46) by 185 runs
A fine display by the Mumbai bowlers handed the defending champions the honours on the opening day against Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium. Led by right-arm fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, the visitors dented the Railways batting at regular intervals to keep them below 200. None of the batsmen rose to the challenge after captain Murali Kartik chose to bat - the highest of 31 came from No. 7 Marripuri Suresh - and they were bowled out in the 85th over. Both Kulkarni and Abdulla finished with three wickets apiece and were well-supported by Harmeet Singh who chipped in with two. The only blip for Mumbai was losing Ajinkya Rahane during the reply for 2.
Orissa 203 for 5 (Mullick 73*, Arjun 3-30) v Hyderabad
The home side failed to seize the advantage after winning the toss, while Orissa slowly crossed 200 on an attritional first day in Hyderabad. The hosts were given a strong start by their seamers, who claimed three wickets, before Pravanjan Mullick anchored a rescue mission. He added an even 50 with Rakesh Mohanty (42), and a more substantial 93 in the company of Halhadar Das (49) to steer Orissa to safety. Mohanty and Das failed to convert their starts, while Mullick remained unbeaten on 73, looking to carry Orissa's hopes on day two. Hyderabad will be happy with the showing of MP Arjun who picked up three wickets in 19 miserly overs.
Karnataka 125 for 1 (Pawan 74*) lead Maharashtra 105 (Vinay Kumar 5-40, Mithun 3-32) by 20 runs
R Vinay Kumar continued his fine run in this year's tournament, picking up his second five-for in an innings to go top of the bowling charts, as Karnataka made light work of bottom-placed Maharashtra at the Poona Club Ground. Put in to bat, the Maharashtra scorecard made for dismal reading as none of the batsmen managed to cross 21. Vinay Kumar removed five of the top six batsmen and was well-partnered by right-arm fast bowler Abhinav Mithun, who took three wickets. Karnataka further strengthened their position, as they not only strode to a first-innings lead but with KB Pawan and Ganesh Satish compiling an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 114, they may well set their sights on an emphatic innings win, which in turn should keep them firm at the No. 1 spot on the points table.
Saurashtra 372 for 3 (Pathak 118, Jogiyani 103, Shah 59, Pujara 68*) v Bengal
Proceedings at Eden Gardens almost mirrored that in the ongoing Test in Kanpur as the Saurashtra batsmen, like the Indians against Sri Lanka, went on the rampage against Bengal. While the openers handed them the early advantage with hundreds each, after being put in, a couple of fifties followed to give them pole position. Chirag Pathak and wicketkeeper Sagar Joigyani's huge stand of 206 by the 43rd over had Bengal and captain Manoj Tiwary on the backfoot from the start. While Pathak's century was laced with 17 fours and a six, Jogiyani hit 19 boundaries on his way to three figures. Even as both departed, captain Jaydev Shah and Cheteshwar Pujara kept up the momentum, getting to their fifties, and putting on 73 for the third wicket. Worryingly for the Bengal bowlers, Saurashtra's run machine Pujara is still unbeaten, having scored a double century in his comeback match last week.
Uttar Pradesh 300 for 4 (Srivastava 109, Raina 69) v Delhi
Opener Tanmay Srivastava cracked his fourth first-class hundred as UP piled up 300 after opting to bat against Delhi in Lucknow. The early loss of Shivakant Shukla to medium-pacer Parvinder Awana was only a temporary setback, as Srivastava joined forces with Suresh Raina to add 124 for the second wicket. Awana accounted for the free-scoring Raina, but that only signalled further misery for the visitors as captain Mohammad Kaif stepped up to add 86 with Srivastava. Rajat Bhatia dismissed both batsmen towards the end of the day, but Parvinder Singh, who was unbeaten on 36, took UP safely to stumps.