Punjab's debutant pair keep Himachal at bay

Punjab 484 for 6 (A Gupta 129*, Abhishek 81*, Gurvinder 5-118) trail Himachal Pradesh 729 for 8 dec by 245 runs

Himachal Pradesh will go into day four needing four more wickets to secure a first-innings lead against Punjab in Dharamsala and their first priority will be to break the 210-run seventh-wicket partnership between Abhishek Gupta and Abhishek Sharma.

The two batsmen, both on first-class debut, stretched their team's score from 274 for 6 to 484 for 6 by stumps on the third day. Gupta, the wicketkeeper, was unbeaten on 129 while the 17-year-old Abhishek Sharma, who recently played the Youth ODIs against England's Under-19s, was on 81.

Punjab began the day at 110 for 1, and while their captain Jiwanjot Singh and No. 4 batsman Anmolpreet Singh made fifties, they were kept in check by Services offspinner Gurvinder Singh. Gurvinder took four of the five Punjab wickets that fell on the third day for returns of 5 for 118.

Bengal 552 for 9 dec and 77 for 0 (Raman 40*, Easwaran 31) lead Services 359 (Navneet 121, Gani 5-109) by 270 runs

A five-for from offspinner Aamir Gani helped Bengal secure a first-innings lead of 193 over Services in Palam. Bengal opted not to enforce the follow-on and stretched that lead to 270 by stumps on the third day.

Services opener Navneet Singh, who was unbeaten on 44 overnight, built on that to score 121 on first-class debut, while Ravi Chauhan (53), Rahul Singh (43) and Shamsher Yadav (38) got starts. However, unlike Bengal, who had five half-centurions in their first innings to support Sudip Chatterjee's hundred, Services' batsman failed to build on their starts.

Gani's wickets were a factor in Services' inability to build partnerships. His 5 for 109 included the wickets of four of Services' top five.

Bengal showed their intent towards setting a fourth-innings target for Services, motoring to 77 for 0 in 11 second-innings overs. Abhishek Raman was unbeaten on 40 while Abhimanyu Easwaran was with him on 31.

Goa 223 for 4 (Amonkar 70, Kamat 47) trail Chhattisgarh 458 by 235 runs

A cautious Goa added 195 runs over 87 overs on day three in Porvorim, as they continued their response to Chhattisgarh's first-innings total of 458.

Goa began the day at 28 for 0 and their top order went about accumulating runs. The first two wickets added 73 and 74 with opener Sumiran Amonkar scoring his third first-class half-century. His 235-ball 79 had 12 fours, while Goa captain Sagun Kamat contributed 47 off 115 balls.