<
>

Railways in sight of bonus point; Nair ton puts Karnataka on top

Arindam Ghosh celebrates his century PTI

A second-innings batting collapse left Assam facing the prospect of an early exit from the quarter-final race. Having conceded a 239-run lead to Railways, who were powered by Arindam Ghosh's century, they slumped to 41 for 7 at stumps on day three in Guwahati, with the pace duo of Anureet Singh and Deepak Bansal picking up five wickets between them.

Railways, resuming on 224 for 2, declared on 483 for 7. Ghosh found support from overnight partner Nitin Bhille (89), in a 177-run stand for the third wicket. Lower down, Ashish Yadav made an unbeaten 50 off 59 balls to swell the lead further. Openers Saurabh Wakaskar (80) and Shivkant Shukla (86) had earlier set the innings up.

Railways are now three wickets away from a second win in three matches, while Assam, having eked out a point against Delhi and losing to Karnataka before this, are on their way to a second outright loss. They'll have conceded a bonus point on both occasions if they lose this game by an innings too.

Karun Nair's 134, and his 160-run stand for the fifth wicket with Stuart Binny (72), lifted Karnataka to 332 in Shimoga, leaving Hyderabad 288 runs to win on the final day with eight wickets in hand.

Karnataka had begun the day on 127 for 4 - leading by 174 - with the overnight pair of Nair and Binny having already put up 60 together. They batted out the first session without being separated and brought up their respective half-centuries; in Binny's case, his second of the game.

After the interval, Binny fell to left-arm spinner Mehedi Hasan (5-88) who had taken all five wickets to fall at that point. Karnataka had no major contributions from the lower order, but Nair managed to string a partnership of 40 for the eighth wicket with Vinay Kumar and a 37-run stand for the final wicket en route to his 11th first-class hundred. He was the last batsman to be dismissed, bowled by legspinner Akash Bhandari (3-84). Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, who had taken 4-42 in the first innings, bowled only three overs in the second.

Set 380 to win, Hyderabad lost Akshath Reddy and K Sumanth before a third-wicket stand of 42 between Tanmay Agarwal (43*) and Ambati Rayudu (18*) took them to stumps on 92 for 2.

Maharashtra offspinner Chirag Khurana took career-best figures of 6-53 as the visitors took a first-innings lead of 41 against Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow. Fifties from Rahul Tripathi (91) and Ankit Bawne (58) then helped them raise a lead of 297 at stumps with six wickets in hand.

Khurana completed his second five-wicket haul with the wicket of overnight batsman Imtiaz Ahmed with the score on 242. Imtiaz had added 28 for the eighth wicket with Eklavya Dwivedi, who had come in at 146 for 5 on the second day in UP's response to Maharashtra's 312. The wicketkeeper-batsman dragged the innings alongside No. 10 Ankit Rajpoot and made 71 before he was run out to end UP's innings for 271.

Maharashtra lost opener Ruturaj Gaikwad early, but Tripathi's 55-run stand for the second wicket with Swapnil Gugale, followed by a 114-run alliance with Bawne, helped them end the day on 256 for 4.