Rohit slams double-century as Mumbai dominate
Rohit Sharma may have been demoted in the BCCI contracts lists that were announced today, but he hit back, pounding his third first-class double-century as Mumbai bossed over Bengal at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Resuming at 287 for 4, Mumbai suffered early setbacks when Abhishek Nayar and Ajit Agarkar fell within the first eight overs of play. Rohit was in no mood to relent though, and found a willing partner in No. 8 Iqbal Abdulla to take the game away from the hosts. Abdulla fell 18 short of his second first-class ton, after swinging 12 fours in an aggressive effort. Rohit had looked ominous in his brief stay on the first evening and carried on in the same vein, stroking 23 fours and three sixes to push Mumbai towards 600. Butter-fingered Bengal let themselves down in the field, with Shreevats Goswami, Wriddhiman Saha and Ashok Dinda dropping easy catches off Rohit. Ramesh Powar and Dhawal Kulkarni chipped in to help Rohit reach 200 at which point Wasim Jaffer declared. There was more trouble for Bengal before stumps, with Aavishkar Salvi removing opener Arindam Das cheaply, leaving them facing a mountain on day three.
Delhi ran into an inspired spell of offspin from R Ashwin to stumble from a position of strength, before their bowlers wrested back the initiative against Tamil Nadu on an intriguing day of cricket at the at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The slide began early, with centurion Virat Kohli driving Ashwin straight to midwicket after adding 20 to his overnight 119. His exit gave TN an opening and Ashwin pushed through with purpose, registering his ninth five-wicket haul at the first-class level, as Delhi lost 7 for 23 to fold up for 318. The hosts held the upper hand when they came out to bat, but they had to contend with Delhi's fired-up attack. Pawan Suyal removed Abhinav Mukund cheaply and, despite holding firm for a 45-run stand, neither Srikkanth Anirudha nor Arun Karthik could kick-start TN's reply. Dinesh Karthik and R Satish fared even worse as left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra got into the groove, reducing the home side to 82 for 5. Delhi bowled to a plan, with Suyal and Parvinder Awana bowled fast early on and used the short ball to good effect before Mishra dried up the runs with a good line and length and forced the batsmen into mistakes. S Badrinath responded with a mix of caution and aggression, striking two sixes and three fours in his unbeaten 45 off 127 balls, to take his side to stumps without further loss.
Assam got themselves back into their match at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi, reducing Railways to 164 for 8 by stumps on the second day. Resuming their innings at 174 for 7, Assam added only 13 more runs in the hazy morning before being bowled out. Dhiraj Goswami, the fast bowler, then struck twice in his opening spell as Railways stuttered to 33 for 4. TP Singh scored 41, but Assam continued to take wickets at regular intervals and it took a 30-run eighth-wicket partnership between allrounder JP Yadav and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik to get Railways close to Assam's score. While it was the spinners who had taken the bulk of the wickets for Railways, the seamers did the damage for Assam, with Goswami taking 4 for 43 and Ranjitkumar Mali finishing with 2 for 31. Railways will start day three 23 runs behind in a match that looks destined for a result.
Gujarat seamer Ishwar Choudhary picked up four wickets as Saurashtra folded up for 262 in their first innings at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat. Rains stayed away after washing out the opening day, and Gujarat dominated from the outset after choosing to field. Opener Bhushan Chauhan resisted with a doughty 41, but regular strikes at the other end reduced the visitors to 104 for 4. Captain Jaydev Shah counterattacked, hitting three sixes and eleven fours in his 94, and repaired the innings in a 119-run stand for the fifth wicket, with Sagar Jogiyani. The lower order, however, could not contribute much and Gujarat wrapped up the innings with six overs to stumps. Seamer Jaidev Unadkat made a breakthrough in the final passage of play, leaving Gujarat at 20 for 1 and the game evenly poised going into the third day.
Robin Uthappa celebrated his 25th birthday by marching to his 11th first-class ton as Karnataka seized the first-innings lead against Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. The visitors finished the day at 346 for 6, 103 runs ahead of Punjab who were bowled out on the opening day. It was a tough day for the home bowlers after the early hope fuelled by the cheap dismissals of Karnataka's openers. Ganesh Satish blunted the attack with a half-century and added 130 runs for the third wicket with Uthappa as Karnataka assumed control of proceedings. Uthappa was in his usual attacking mindset, caning 16 fours and two sixes in his 149 that came off 182 balls. After Satish was run out, Manish Pandey joined in the fun, scoring 49 off 61 balls. After conceding the lead, Punjab managed to pull things back marginally with three late wickets, but Karnataka held all the aces going into the third day.
Yusuf Pathan piled up the misery on Haryana with a typically brutal 195 off 138 balls as Baroda took a 343-run first-innings lead at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Haryana had been bowled out for 127 on day one and had an equally disastrous start to the second day, with Yusuf and opener Connor Williams (114 off 316) adding another 192 to their overnight stand of 87. Haryana captain Rahul Dewan was forced to use nine different bowlers before eventually dismissing Baroda for 470. Yusuf bashed nineteen fours and ten sixes, before he was bowled by part-timer Nitin Saini, five short of his second first-class double century. Thanks to Yusuf, Baroda maintained an innings run-rate of 4.12, giving them ample time to push for a win.
Parvinder Singh and Piyush Chawla scored contrasting half-centuries for Uttar Pradesh as they reached 403 in their first innings against Orissa at the Dr Akhilesh Das Stadium in Lucknow. While Chawla scored at a strike-rate of more than 70, middle-order batsman Singh took 206 balls for his 78. It was slow progress for UP who only marginally improved on their slow first-day run-rate, getting 229 runs at 2.65 on day two. Orissa were left with just one over to face, which they negotiated safely.