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Karnataka 324 ahead; Nadeem helps Jharkhand snatch two-run lead

CM Gautam, who scored 63 not out, forged crucial partnerships with the lower order to consolidate Karnataka's lead PTI

A bonus-point victory increasingly looked a possibility for Karnataka after they ground Delhi on the second day of their Group B fixture at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Resuming on 131 for 3, Karnataka almost batted the entire day to make 414. When the last wicket fell, in what was to be the final ball of the day, they had opened up a lead of 324.

Despite five of their batsmen unable to kick on after crossing fifty, their good performance with the ball on the opening day - Delhi were bowled out for 90 after S Aravind's four-for - meant Karnataka had made enough ground to push for seven points.

Karun Nair, the captain, and Kaunain Abbas, playing in just his second first-class match, put together 89 for the fifth wicket after Ishant Sharma struck in the second over of the day when he had nightwatchman Abhimanyu Mithun poking an away-swinger to the wicketkeeper. For close to a session, Delhi's spinners were rendered ineffective on a surface that had considerably eased out as both batsmen milked singles quite comfortably.

Halfway through the second session, Delhi's bowlers had respite against the run of play when Nair and Abbas fell. Stuart Binny briefly entertained in his 32, before chipping a simple return catch to Vikas Tokas. Karnataka's batting depth then surfaced, with Shreyas Gopal (46) and CM Gautam adding 77 for the eighth wicket. Karnataka added 47 for the last two wickets, before Varun Sood, the left-arm spinner, picked up the last wicket to finish with 4 for 80. Gautam remained unbeaten on 63.

Shahbaz Nadeem's 7 for 74 helped Jharkhand snatch a two-run lead over Rajasthan in Vadodara. That, after Rajasthan, in reply to Jharkhand's 209, put together 100 for the first wicket, courtesy fifties from Manender Singh and Vineet Saxena. Nadeem scythed through the middle-order with his left-arm spin as Rajasthan lost their last seven wickets for 61. Jharkhand lost Anand Singh early, but Virat Singh's 35 and Pratyush Singh's 33 not out helped extend the lead to 75, with eight wickets in hand when stumps were drawn.

Jaydev Shah became the first Saurashtra captain to score a double century as Maharashtra's bowlers, who nearly conceded a lead despite scoring 600-plus against Delhi last week, were run ragged again. Jaydev (217), who has scores of 193, 64 and 0 so far this season, put on 174 for the sixth wicket with Chirag Jani (100 not out), before Saurashtra declared on 657 for 8.

There were contributions from Sheldon Jackson (105) and Cheteshwar Pujara too. Pujara, returing to the domestic circuit in a bid to get match ready ahead of the Test series against England, made 93. He was the first man to be dismissed on the day, in what was to be a rare moment of cheer for Maharashtra. They ended on 18 without loss, trailing by 639.

No play was possible between Vidarbha and Assam in Trivandrum because of rain and a wet outfield. Vidarbha, who chose to bat, will resume on 254 for 3, with Ganesh Satish (93) and Ravi Jangid (31) at the crease. Sanjay Ramaswamy, the opener, made 83 and shared a 131-run second-wicket stand with Ganesh to consolidate Vidarbha's innings on the opening day.