Bhatt spins Baroda to innings victory
Bhargav Bhatt, the 20-year old slow left-arm bowler, spun Baroda to an innings-and-33-run win against Haryana on the third day at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Haryana, who needed to score 343 to make Baroda bat again, resisted for almost 100 overs before being dismissed for 310. Bhatt, playing only his third first-class game, took 7 for 127, his maiden five-wicket haul. Haryana's opening pair of Nitin Saini and captain Rahul Dewan had started solidly, adding 68 runs before Bhatt struck, getting Dewan caught behind. Saini and Sunny Singh soon followed, and Haryana had slumped to 77 for 3. Wickets continued to fall regularly, and though Hemang Badani and Joginder Sharma resisted briefly, it was all but over for Haryana when Badani fell for 79. Bhatt's accuracy was reflected in the manner of his dismissals, with six of his seven wickets either bowled, caught behind or leg before.
Yuvraj Singh made an unbeaten half-century a day after being demoted to Grade B in the BCCI's list of central contracts. Punjab had already dropped first-innings points against Karnataka in Mohali, and Yuvraj's 52 helped them to 173 for 2 in their second innings at stumps on the third day. Ravi Inder Singh also made a half-century after having been bowled off the second ball of the match in the first innings. Karnataka's lower order had supported Amit Verma for more than 25 overs in the morning to prolong Punjab's misery. Verma made a sedate 60 before becoming the last man to be dismissed. He fell to medium-pacer Manpreet Gony, who finished with three wickets. Punjab still trail Karnataka by ten runs.
RP Singh tore through Orissa with a career-best haul of 6 for 48 to leave them reeling at 232 for 9 against Uttar Pradesh at the Dr Akhilesh Das Stadium in Lucknow. RP trapped former India opener and Orissa captain Shiv Sunder Das leg before for 1 in the sixth over of the day. Soon, Orissa were deep in trouble at 42 for 4. However, opener Natraj Behera found some support from the lower middle order, and went on to score his maiden first-class hundred which included 17 fours. Behera made more runs than the rest of his team-mates combined managed to, but fell to RP for 113. However, Orissa still trail by 171 runs and UP are almost assured of first-innings points going into the final day.
Mumbai's bowlers gave their side a huge first-innings lead, bowling Bengal out for 296 at Eden Gardens. Resuming at 28 for 1 in reply to Mumbai's mammoth 621, Bengal slipped to 84 for 5 as Manoj Tiwary, Shreevats Goswami and Wriddhiman Saha fell cheaply. Debutant Writam Porel and offspinner Saurasish Lahiri fought back with half-centuries. However, Mumbai's frontline bowlers struck repeatedly and despite a 91-run stand eighth-wicket between Lahiri and Shibsagar Singh, Bengal had little chance of even reaching the follow-on mark. The Mumbai seam trio of Ajit Agarkar, Aavishkar Salvi and Dhawal Kulkarni picked up seven wickets between them. It is to be seen whether Wasim Jaffer will enforce the follow-on tomorrow, or whether he will be satisfied with first-innings points, like he was in Mumbai's opening game against Saurashtra.
Railways put behind the disappointment of conceding a narrow first-innings lead, and had Assam reeling on 160 for 9 at stumps on the third day at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi. Murali Kartik picked up his 32nd first-class five-wicket haul, and was supported by the medium pace of veteran Sanjay Bangar. As many as eight Assam batsmen failed to reach double figures. Amol Muzumdar, the captain, waged a lone battle with an unbeaten 73. He got some support from wicketkeeper Kunal Saikia though, who made 25. Assam lead by 165 runs with one wicket remaining and would be glad that Muzumdar is still batting. In a low-scoring match where a total of 529 runs have been made in three days, the final day could see a close finish.
S Badrinath's 23rd first-class century was not enough as Tamil Nadu fell well short of Delhi's first-innings score at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Tamil Nadi had begun the day 196 runs behind with five wickets remaining. C Ganapathy stuck around for 133 deliveries, making only 22 but adding 89 in a sixth-wicket partnership with Badrinath. However, Ganapathy's run-out by Pawan Suyal triggered a lower-order collapse as Tamil Nadu slipped from 171 for 5 to be bowled out for 208. Badrinath was the last man dismissed, bowled by Suyal after making 104. The next highest score in the innings was 28. Vikas Mishra, the 17-year old left-arm spinner, finished with 4 for 49 off 38 overs. Delhi stretched their lead to 232 by stumps, with opener Shikhar Dhawan easing to an unbeaten 76. Offspinner R Ashwin took both the Delhi wickets that fell.
Jaidev Unadkat and Ravindra Jadeja picked up three wickets apiece for Saurashtra to skittle out Gujarat for 191 at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat. Five of the six Saurashtra bowlers used were among the wickets as their side comfortably took first-innings honours. Gujarat fell short of Saurashtra's total by 71 runs. Most of the Gujarat batsmen got starts but none went on to make even a half-century. Opener Priyank Panchal was the top scorer with 40 before he fell leg before to Jadeja. With three points in their kitty, Saurashtra crawled to 60 for 2 at stumps, offspinner Mohnish Parmar taking both wickets.