Baroda dominate Yuvraj-less Punjab
Baroda look set to pick up their second victory of the season after taking 13 Punjab wickets on the third day at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Punjab ended the day at 79 for 4 after following-on, still 96 runs behind the hosts. Left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt, who was the star of Baroda's last win, against Haryana, took 4 for 59 in Punjab's first innings, and then struck two more important blows in their second. Punjab's troubles started early, as they lost two quick wickets in the morning to fall to 36 for 3. Punjab opener Sarul Kanwar, playing only his third first-class match, held up one end, getting 130, but with the middle-order devoid of Yuvraj Singh, who is in the India ODI squad for the series against New Zealand, the rest of Punjab's batting crumbled. Following on, Punjab made a disastrous start, falling to 29 for 4, before Kanwar and Vishwas Bhalla put together a fifty-run partnership. Baroda were in pole position after three days in their last match against Uttar Pradesh before throwing it away on the final day, so will be wary of any complacence.
Manish Pandey and CM Gautam put Karnataka in control of their game against Orissa with an epic 328-run partnership that has turned the game on its head after the hosts had been 54 for 5 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Pandey eventually fell to Debasis Mohanty for an attacking 171, peppered with 16 fours and six sixes, while Gautam made a personal-best 158 from 234 balls, hitting 23 fours and one six. The last wicket pair of Abhimanyu Mithun and Sreenath Aravind then rubbed salt in Orissa's wound, adding 84 to take Karnataka past 500 before Aravind was bowled by Biplab Samantray for 33, leaving Mithun unbeaten on 63. Facing a deficit for 312, Orissa lost former India opener Shiv Sunder Das for a duck, but Natraj Behera and Nirajan Behera took them to 92 for 1 at close.
Only nine overs were possible on the third day of the game between Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur. Play began at 4 p.m., with HP adding 14 runs to their overnight score of 9 for 2.
Mumbai hold a slight edge over Assam heading in to the final day of their game at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. The visitors began the day on 81 for 3 after most of the first two days had been lost to rain, and Tarjinder Singh and Dheeraj Jadhav made steady half-centuries in a partnership of 128 for the fourth wicket. However, Tarjinder's departure, he was bowled by Iqbal Abdulla for 74, set off a mini-collapse as four wickets fell for 36 runs. Abu Nechim then played some aggressive shots in making 39 from 46 balls, with five fours and a six, to push Assam to 298. Jadhav was the eighth man to fall, having batted for just under seven hours and faced 269 balls for his 79. Mumbai slumped to 47 for 3, with Dhiraj Goswami removing the in-form pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Wasim Jaffer, but Sahil Kukreja and Abhishek Nayar steadied the innings, adding an unbeaten 44, to leave Mumbai trailing by 207 runs with seven wickets in hand.
It was a good day for Bengal at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, where they managed to bowl Gujarat out for 273 on the third day. The match had seen just 52 overs played over the first two days, due to rain interruptions, but 92 overs were bowled on Friday and Bengal made the most of them, giving themselves a good chance of picking up three points for a first-innings lead. Bengal, who are missing a number of players due to a viral fever, finished the day on 99 for 2. Bengal seamer Ranadeb Bose had taken three wickets on Thursday to leave Gujarat at 162 for 3, and it was allrounder Laxmi Shukla who did the damage on Friday, taking three wickets as Bengal picked seven wickets for 111 runs on the day. Bengal will have their captain Manoj Tiwary still at the wicket on the fourth morning, with Shukla, who scored a double-century in Bengal's last match still to come.
Chiraj Pathak and Bhushan Chauhan added 104 for the first wicket to help Saurashtra to 231or 6 against Delhi at the Khanderi Cricket Stadium in Rajkot. Both openers made identical scores of 58, although Chauhan took much longer than Pathak; he faced 151 deliveries compared to 95 for his partner. 17-year-old left-arm spinner, Vikas Mishra, got the initial breakthrough when he had Pathak caught. He would add three more wickets to end the day with 4 for 33. Jaydev Shah was 43 not out, with Kamlesh Makvana (6*) for company, at stumps. Since the opening two days were washed out, a result isn't possible, and the only question is whether one side can pick up the three points on offer for a first-innings lead.
Tamil Nadu declared on 335 for 4 in a bid to get something out of their game against Railways at the Technology Chemplast Ground in Chennai Badrinath and Abhinav Mukund had pushed their partnership to 255 when Mukund was bowled by Vikas Tokas for 131, an innings that was studded with 16 fours. The hosts then called time on their first innings soon after S Badrinath fell for 149, having also struck 16 fours. In reply, Railways were 40 for no loss.