<
>

Pant, Rana tons give Delhi control

File photo: Rishabh Pant struck 13 fours and eight sixes in his 124-ball 146 BCCI

Three batsmen made centuries, while another missed his by eight runs as Delhi buried Assam under a 396-run lead in Vadodara.

Delhi, who resumed on 241 for 3, were first driven by a 220-run stand between Rishabh Pant, the wicket-keeper batsman who struck his maiden first-class century, and Nitish Rana, for whom this was a second ton. Both men finished on 146.

Milind Kumar and Pradeep Sangwan, who came in at No. 9, then added 125 to swell the lead as Delhi declared on 589 for 8. Sangwan, who also brought up his maiden first-class century, hit eight fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 87-ball 100. Fast bowler Abu Nechim finished with 5 for 106.

Then left-arm spinner Manan Sharma prised out two wickets and Assam ended the day 100 for 3. Amit Verma and Arun Karthik, two of their most experienced batsmen, had put together 51 at stumps.

Despite a top-order wobble, Jharkhand are primed to win their Ranji Trophy opener in Delhi. They are four down in the final innings of the match but require only 37 more runs to beat Maharashtra.

Chasing a target of 93, they hadn't got a run on the board when they lost the openers Ishan Kishan and Shiv Gautam. But the damage they sustained in the second innings - which was only 13 overs old - may not matter much because their own bowlers had hurt Maharashtra in a much worse way.

Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and medium-pacer Ashish Kumar picked up six wickets between them to restrict Maharashtra to a mere 188 in their second innings. Kedar Jadhav was the only batsman to cross fifty. That left a very manageable target for Jharkhand to hunt down; one they could well achieve despite the big-hearted effort from Maharashtra's new-ball bowlers Anupam Sanklecha (2 for 20) and Shrikant Mundhe (2 for 22)

Vidarbha declared on 272 for 6 after batting out 102 overs in Visakhapatnam. By batting as long as they have, and securing a first-innings lead of 122 runs, they would likely come away with more points than Odisha. Captain Faiz Fazal missed out on a century, caught behind for 99 after more than six hours at the crease. Deepak Behera was Odisha's best bowler with 3 for 35 from 19 overs. After the declaration, Odisha had 22 overs to play and their openers Sandeep Pattnaik and Ranjit Singh got through them unscathed to push the score to 74 for 0.

Rain thwarted Saurashtra's quest to secure a first-innings lead against Rajasthan as only 17.4 overs were possible on the third day in Vizianagaram. Saurashtra, who made 460 courtesy Jaydev Shah's 193, removed Vineet Saxena shortly before play ended, with Rajasthan on 62 for 1.