Rohit Sharma triple flattens Gujarat
Gujarat 120 for 1 trail Mumbai 648 for 6 dec (Rohit 309*, Marathe 144, Samant 50*) by 528 runs
Mumbai's bats have continued to make headlines this season, but none more sensational than Rohit Sharma. "There are several batsmen who score a hundred on a given day in Ranji cricket. I need to continue and score and a really big knock to stand out," Rohit told the Indian Express after he batted himself to 145 on day one at the Brabourne Stadium. A day later Rohit walked the talk with the first triple-century of his career, an unbeaten 309 from 322 deliveries, that formed the fulcrum of a massive first-innings total, leaving a weary Gujarat facing a mountain to climb.
Rohit was a hulk on the second day on a flat track, extending his overnight stand with Sushant Marathe (144) to 342. Marathe's dismissal was followed by two wickets, but Vinayak Samant chipped in with an unbeaten 50 to further torment Gujarat in Rohit's company. Rohit, whose previous best was 205, outdid that by some distance, hitting 36 fours and four sixes. Four of seven bowlers carried the burden of the bowling attack against an enormous innings, and it was legspinner Salil Yadav who leaked the most runs: 201 in 50 overs for one wicket. The bowlers even resorted to a negative line but Rohit was batting on a whole different level.
"After hitting the first ball for four I felt like I could continue to bat like yesterday," he told reporters after the day's play. "The track was good and I knew it would be more easy for me once Gujarat opts for the new ball. I just wanted to take it ball by ball. I was prepared to play my natural game even if I get out. But after crossing 200 I didn't want to take a chance."
Tamil Nadu 189 for 1 (Anirudha 70, Mukund 66*) trail Hyderabad (Pai 51) 347 by 158 runs
Hyderabad's chances of avoiding relegation to the Plate League next season took a beating on day two against Tamil Nadu at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. They pressed on from 269 for 4 to 347, with Anoop Pai scoring 51, but a mute performance with the ball let them down majorly. Tamil Nadu's openers Srikanth Anirudha (70) and Abhinav Mukund (66*) put on 96 after which Arun Karthik came out and made an unbeaten 49 to help Mukund get the score to 189 for 1. If Hyderabad get three points via a first-innings lead, they could equal Himachal Pradesh but the latter have one outright victory. It's not looking too bright for Hyderabad.
Himachal Pradesh 125 and 47 for 2 trail Orissa 316 (Halhadar Das 144, Mohinderrak Sharma 5-102) by 144 runs
A brisk 144 from Orissa's Halhadar Das gave the visitors a 191 first-innings lead over Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala, which was reduced to 144 by stumps. Resuming day two on 55 for 2, Orissa were boosted by Halhadar's 155-ball effort and 53 from Niranjan Behera to put up 316. Halhadar tucked into the attack with gusto, adding 90 with Behera, and hit 20 fours and three sixes. Mohinder Sharma, with 5 for 102, carried Himachal Pradesh's attack with determination. They then reached 47 for 2 at the close with defeat looming large.
Punjab 154 for 4 (Sidhana 54) trail Railways 276 (Karan Sharma 59*, Rahul Sharma 6-92) by 122 runs
Two wickets before stumps on day two at the Karnail Singh Stadium denied Punjab the day's honours. Railways had been boosted from 191 for 6 to 276 thanks to Karan Sharma's unbeaten 59 from the No. 8 spot, against a six-wicket haul from young Rahul Sharma. Punjab then made a good start after an early wicket, through Mayank Sharma (54) and Sunny Sohal (30), but Railways pegged them back. Murali Kartik, Railways' captain, snapped up Sohal, after which Sidhana and Uday Kaul put together 86. From 123 for 2, however, Punjab lost Sidhana and Pankaj Dharmani for 0 in the space of three overs in the last hour of play.
Delhi 68 for 2 trail Bengal 522 (Ganguly 152, Saha 120, Shukla 132) by 454 runs
A second day of bat-powered domination allowed Bengal to tighten their grip over Delhi at the Jadavpur University Ground. Delhi's hopes of running into the lower order and aiding their chances of claiming the needed first-innings lead were given a boost when Pradeep Sangwan dismissed Wriddhiman Saha for 120 to snap a 249-run stand, but in walked Bengal's captain, Laxmi Shukla. Shukla eased himself in alongside Sourav Ganguly, and by the time the former India captain went for 150, followed by Saurashis Lahiri for 0, Shukla was firm. Ashok Dinda, back after making his first India appearance, made 41 and with Shukla carried Bengal close to 500. Shukla was last out for 132 from 137 balls. Bengal were further lifted by veteran workhorse Ranadeb Bose, who took out Delhi's openers in his first 19 deliveries. Aditya Jain and Mithun Manhas put on 50 before stumps, leaving Delhi with much to do on day three.
Baroda 300 for 5 (Williams 129, Gaekwad 103*) lead Maharashtra 288 by 12 runs
A pair of centuries from two experienced players helped Baroda claim the second day's honours in Pune. Baroda batted the entire day, moving from a 277-run deficit into a small lead and with it vital points, thanks to Connor Williams' 18th ton and Shatrunjay Gaekwad's maiden ton. Williams, in his 115th game, hit 129 and Gaekwad, son of former India opener Anshuman, made a patient 103. They put on 214 for the third wicket. Baroda lost two wickets in relative succession following Williams' exit and will look to a vigilant Gaekwad for more.
Saurashtra 216 and 57 for 0 trail Karnataka 384 by 111 runs
Ganesh Satish's second first-class century rallied Karnataka to a strong total on day two in Rajkot. From 45 from 41 balls overnight, Satish pressed on to 120, adding 125 for the fourth wicket with Amit Verma (68). Satish's dismissal at 250 for 5 was followed by a century stand between Manish Pandey (55) and his captain Robin Uthappa (62 from 56 balls)as Karnataka put up 384. For Saurashtra, spinner Vishal Joshi picked up 4 for 77 and was supported by Kamlesh Makvana's 3 for 82. The home side was given a good opening stand in the 16 overs remaining in the day, with Chirag Pathak dominating, but Saurashtra face a tough third day.