Ranji Trophy Super League, 4th round, 2nd day November 25, 2009

Karthik plan backfires as HP near lead

Cricinfo staff

Group A

Himachal Pradesh 291 for 4 (Thakkar 83, Indulkar 71, Mukesh Sharma 68*) trail Tamil Nadu 293 for 8 dec (Ashwin 107*, Dinesh Karthik 70, Malik 3-79) by three runs

Tamil Nadu's decision to declare on their overnight score and exploit the early morning conditions at Dharamsala completely backfired as a string of steady partnerships put Himachal Pradesh within touching distance of first-innings points. The home side began their response with a solid 49-run opening stand between Bhavin Thakkar and Sangram Singh. Thakkar's dismissal by L Balaji was followed by a flurry of boundaries from Paras Dogra before Abhinav Mukund struck. However, Tamil Nadu's hopes of sparking a collapse did not materialise thanks to Vinit Indulkar who helped HP consolidate through substantial partnerships with Thakkar and Mukesh Sharma. Indulkar's dismissal on the stroke of stumps gave the visitors something to cheer about, but they will be up against Mukesh tomorrow, who is looking good for three figures.

Punjab 361 for 5 (Kohli 100*, Sharma 95) lead Gujarat 160 (Ablish 6-79, Gony 4-38) by 201 runs

Punjab seized the initiative on the second day against Gujarat in Mohali thanks to a solid batting effort led by Taruwar Kohli and Rahul Sharma. At stumps, the hosts' lead had grown to 201. Resuming on 77 for 2, Uday Kaul was snared by Siddharth Trivedi in the sixth over of the day. However, things went pear-shaped for the visitors from there on, as Sharma and Kohli joined forces to add 148, which handed Punjab the lead. Sharma was the more aggressive of the pair, punctuating his knock with 15 fours and a six, before falling five short of a well-deserved century. Kohli however kicked on, unfazed by the loss, to bring up his maiden first-class hundred at stumps, hitting seven boundaries.

Mumbai 248 for 8 (Rohit 94*, Jaffer 75, Kartik 3-70) lead Railways 187 (Kulkarni 3-24, Abdulla 3-46) by 61 runs

Captain Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma ensured Mumbai secured a crucial first-innings advantage, despite being under the cosh against Railways. Beginning on 2 for 1, Mumbai were in further trouble as Sahil Kukreja departed early. However, Wasim Jaffer, coming in at No. 4, drew from his experience of facing the new ball and initiated a rescue mission. He was the dominant partner in a sedate 83-run stand with Dhawal Kulkarni to steady Mumbai, before Rohit Sharma took over the reins. Rohit blocked one end up as wickets fell regularly, and together with Vinayak Samant added 74 for the eighth wicket. Rohit will look to push Mumbai's lead ahead on day three, while Railways captain Murali Kartik will look to add to his three scalps.

Hyderabad 123 for 5 (Anirudh 44*) trail Orissa 276 (Mullick 77, MP Arjun 4-52) by 153 runs

Orissa had their noses ahead at the end of another low-scoring day at Hyderabad, as the hosts were left wobbling with half their side gone during the reply. Orissa began the day badly, losing top-scorer Pravanjan Mullick in the very first over. However, Alok Chandra Sahoo's 47 lifted them to a respectable score; MP Arjun finished with four wickets. Hyderabad's response though, never got into gear and Sahoo capped his day with a double-strike in the eighth over. The hosts soon slumped to 47 for 4 with the dismissal of Ambati Rayudu, before a sedate rearguard effort from Anirudh Singh and captain Arjun Yadav took them to three figures. Yadav became Basant Mohanty's second victim, just before stumps, to set up a tantalising third day.

Group B

Karnataka 473 for 4 (Pawan 152, Satish 141, Verma 101*) lead Maharshtra 105 (Vinay Kumar 5-40, Mithun 3-32) by 368 runs

With three centurions in the day, table-toppers Karnataka may well be on their way to an innings win against bottom-placed Maharashtra at the Poona Club Ground. Both overnight batsmen, KB Pawan and Ganesh Satish, completed classy centuries and added 170 more to the visitors' overnight score of 125 for 1. Both were in terrific form and teamed well to hit 39 boundaries between them. Maharashtra might have been glad to see their backs at 318 for 3, but Amit Verma continued his good form from the last match against Bengal, as he scored his second century on the trot. With Verma unbeaten, having hit 11 fours and a six, the declaration isn't too far as Karnataka, with a lead of 350-plus, may even wrap up proceedings with a day to spare.

Delhi 9 for 0 trail Uttar Pradesh 536 for 7 dec (Parvinder 108, Srivastava 109, Raina 69) by 527 runs

Parvinder Singh reached his hundred and was well supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar as Uttar Pradesh's run-feast against Delhi in Lucknow continued. From the overnight score of 300 for 4, Delhi were hardly allowed to get a foot in as the two overnight batsmen went from strength to strength. While Parvinder's 227-ball innings was studded with six fours and a six, Bhuvneshwar's patient half-century had just three boundaries. UP finally declared their innings after 85 overs in the day. The Delhi openers - Aakash Chopra and Gaurav Chabra - negotiated the three overs before stumps.

Bengal 27 for 1 trail Saurashtra 650 for 9 dec (Pathak 118, Jogiyani 103, Pujara 84, Mehta 73) by 623 runs

The runs kept flowing for Saurashtra as contributions from every batsman gave them the upper hand against Bengal at the Eden Gardens. Leading the way on the second day was Pratik Mehta, who scored a watchful half-century coming in at No. 7. But, it all began with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja continuing strongly from the previous day as the fourth-wicket stand yielded 74. Three more fifty-plus partnerships sapped the Bengal bowlers' morale. Shitanshu Kotak, Rakesh Dhurv and Sandeep Jobanputra all weighed in with forties. Saurasish Lahiri's three wickets was as good as it got for the hosts, as they lost Rohan Banerjee, the centurion in the previous match, to end the day on 27 for 1.