Tamil Nadu and Karnataka sit pretty at the top
Tamil Nadu 293 for 8 dec (Ashwin 107*, Dinesh Karthik 70, Malik 3-79) and 319 (Anirudha 72, Ashwin 51) beat Himachal Pradesh 366 (Thakkar 83, Mukesh Sharma 78) and 155 (Ganapathy 5-61, Balaji 4-29)
Chandrasekar Ganapathy and L Balaji put in superb performances with the ball as table-toppers Tamil Nadu stormed to a win against Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala. With nine wickets between them, they helped Tamil Nadu cement their position at the top of the points table. Resuming on 199 for 5, the visitors were boosted by Ravichandran Ashwin's fluent fifty and an unbeaten 44 from Ganapathy. They were bowled out in the 25th over of the day, not before setting HP a target of 247. Ganapathy had the top order in tatters, accounting for five of the top seven batsmen. Balaji proved to be the perfect foil picking up four wickets, as HP failed to hold on to first-innings points. Vikramjeet Malik was their top scorer with 45, but the day well and truly belonged to Ganapathy.
Punjab 444 (Kohli 118, Rahul Sharma 95, Yadav 6-123) beat Gujarat 160 (Ablish 6-79, Gony 4-38) and 227 for 7 (Bhatt 95, Gony 4-105) by an innings and 32 runs
Gujarat slipped further down the points table with an innings defeat against Punjab in Mohali. They were staring down the barrel at 227 for 7 yesterday, and the Punjab bowlers wasted no time, taking just under 19 overs to wrap up proceedings. There was to be no fight from Rujul Bhatt, who added just two to his overnight score of 93. Manpreet Gony ended as Punjab's most successful bowler with four wickets - a total of eight in the match - while Harmeet Singh finished with three. With the defeat, Gujarat fell to fourth position, handing the No. 3 spot to Punjab.
Railways 187 (Kulkarni 3-24, Abdulla 3-46) and 309 (Suresh 89*, Abdulla 4-80) drew with Mumbai 284 (Rohit 101, Jaffer 75) and 69 for 0
Railways would have to thank Marripuri Suresh and captain Murali Kartik for helping them avoid defeat against Mumbai at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi. Beginning on 174 for 7, with a slender lead of 77, Railways were lifted by Suresh's patient fifty. The overnight partnership with Karan Sharma finally ended on 81, but Suresh combined with Kartik to add another 83 for the ninth wicket. Suresh remained unbeaten, having struck 11 boundaries, as the innings came to an end in the 49th over of the day. The target of 213 could have tempted Mumbai to go on the offensive, but they chose to be content with first-innings points, as the openers put on an unbeaten stand of 69.
Orissa 276 (Mullick 77, MP Arjun 4-52) and 243 for 5 dec (Rakesh Mohanty 70*) drew with Hyderabad 199 (Debasis 4-48, Basant 3-34) and 205 for 9 (Anirudh 74, Dhiraj 4-46)
Anirudh Singh hit a combative half-century to carve out a thrilling draw for the home team after left-arm spinner Dhiraj Singh had nearly pulled off a sensational win for Orissa in Hyderabad. Chasing an improbable 321 for win, Hyderabad were on the brink after being reduced to 191 for 9, but Anirudh held out for 43 balls along No. 11 Lalith Mohan. Earlier today, resuming at 159 for 4, Orissa declared their second innings in the 24th over of the day, setting Hyderabad a stiff 321 for victory. Basanth Mohanty and Alok Chandra Sahoo shared four top-order wickets as Orissa pushed for the win. Dhiraj polished off the middle and lower order with a four-wicket burst to draw them closer. Orissa though, had the consolation of three points, courtesy their first innings lead, while Hyderabad managed one.
Karnataka 553 for 4 dec (Pawan 152, Satish 141, Verma 148) beat Maharashtra 105 (Vinay Kumar 5-40, Mithun 3-32) and 320 (Bawne 136, Motwani 78, Mithun 4-66, Vinay Kumar 3-83) by an innings and 128 runs
Abhimanyu Mithun and R Vinay Kumar shared the spoils for the second time as Karnataka duly completed an innings victory over Maharashtra at the Poona Club Ground. Resuming on 254 for 5, Maharashtra's hopes lay entirely with overnight centurion Ankit Bawne. He held fort to add 40 along with Ganesh Gaikwad, before Sreesanth Aravind had him caught by Robin Uthappa. The end came about quickly after that, with Vinay Kumar adding two wickets to take his match tally to eight. Mithun, who wrecked the Maharashtra top order yesterday, picked up one more today to finish with seven in the match. Karnataka took six points from the win, opening up a five-point gap at the top of the table.
Uttar Pradesh 536 for 7 dec (Parvinder 108, Srivastava 109, Raina 69) beat Delhi 202 (Praveen 3-37, Chawla 3-41) and 312 (Kohli 145, Bisht 79, Raina 3-31) by an innings and 22 runs
Virat Kohli's fighting century notwithstanding, Delhi surrendered tamely by an innings and 22 runs to Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow. Delhi's hopes of salvaging a point from this game lay with the overnight pair of Kohli and Puneet Bisht. They did try their best, adding a further 104 to the overnight third-wicket stand, before Kohli departed, having hit 22 boundaries. Suresh Raina then got into the act, picking up three wickets with his part-time offspin to hasten the end. Rajat Bhatia made a watchful 56 but ran out of partners as Delhi were badly hampered by Shikar Dhawan's absence in both innings. The six points helped Uttar Pradesh become the new No. 2 on the points table, at the expense of Bengal.
Saurashtra 650 for 9 dec (Pathak 118, Jogiyani 103, Pujara 84) drew with Bengal 456 (Arindam 144, Tiwary 107, Jadeja 4-71) and 135 for 1 (Arindam 63*, Dasgupta 52*)
Arindam Das ensured that Saurashtra did not force an innings defeat, though the visitors gained first-innings points at the Eden Gardens. With victory out of the question, Bengal began the day hoping that Arindam and Manoj Tiwary would continue their partnership and challenge Saurashtra's mammoth first-innings score. However, their hopes were dashed when both batsmen fell early, sparking off a collapse in which Bengal lost eight wickets for 132 runs. Ravindra Jadeja picked up 4 for 71, as Saurashtra enforced the follow-on. Rohan Banerjee's early loss in the second essay gave the visitors some hope of a win, before Arindam and Deep Dasgupta joined hands for the second time to steady the ship. Both reached fifties before play was called off after 32 overs.