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Karthik counter-attack revives TN; Punjab eye outright win

File photo: Dinesh Karthik's counter-attack put Tamil Nadu in a strong position PTI

Centuries from Abhinav Mukund, the captain, and Dinesh Karthik helped Tamil Nadu set Railways an improbable 401 for victory in Bilaspur. Railways, who took the first-innings honours, were driven by Saurabh Wakaskar (54) and Shivakant Shukla (52) as they ended on 108 without loss.

Tamil Nadu resumed on 161 for 1 and lost Abhinav in controversial circumstances in the first over of the day, as soon as he had brought up his century. Abhinav, who wandered outside the crease in celebration after completing the second run, was run-out when the wicket-keeper collected the throw and relayed it back to the bowler, who took the bails off at the non-striker's end. He argued that the ball was dead, only for the umpires to rule in favour of the fielding team.

It was the Karthik show from there on, as he smashed 24 boundaries in a 145-ball 163 to drive the game forward. He was assisted by Kaushik Gandhi (42) and Baba Indrajith (52) as Tamil Nadu declared on 424 for 7, leaving Railways with the task of surviving close to four sessions to walk away with three points.

Kedar Devdhar's century kept Baroda alive in their quest to pull off an unlikely win after Mumbai took an 18-run lead on the third day at Palam grounds in New Delhi. Baroda ended on 321 for 5, leading by 303 at stumps.

Devdhar (145) was complemented by Aditya Waghmode (66) in a 177-run opening stand before Akhil Herwadkar's part-time offspin separated them in the 54th over. Deepak Hooda built on the solid start to remain unbeaten on 66. Earlier, Mumbai, resuming on 313 for 8, were bowled out for 323. That they forged a recovery from 172 for 6 was largely due to the efforts of Herwadkar (106) and Balwinder Singh Sandhu (64).

Yuvraj Singh's 76 helped Punjab set up a bold declaration on 176 for 9, leaving Madhya Pradesh with a target of 307 in Lahli. They ended on 26 for 1.

Punjab, who took a 131-run lead, were tottering on 66 for 4 before being rescued by Yuvraj and Taruwar Kohli, who put on 90 for the fifth wicket. Ishwar Pandey, the medium-pacer who picked up eight wickets in the first innings, took his match tally to 11 for 127, his second-best figures in first-class cricket.

Uttar Pradesh came within 53 runs of taking a lead, but it was Bengal who took the first innings honours on the penultimate day of their Group A fixture in Jaipur. Bengal ended the day with an overall lead of 86 with all wickets intact.

UP, resuming on 126 for 3, were bowled out for 410. They were driven by Umang Sharma's 136, and his 139-run fourth-wicket stand with Sarfraz Khan (85). Kuldeep Yadav raised hopes of UP taking an unlikely lead with his 63, but Aamir Gani, the offspinner, dismantled the tail to finish with 3 for 72.