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Anmolpreet, Gurkeerat punish Chhattisgarh

Manoj Tiwary gazes into the distance PTI

Rapid centuries from Anmolpreet Singh and Gurkeerat Singh helped Punjab speed away from Chhattisgarh in Raipur, ending the second day with four wickets in hand and a first-innings lead of 243.

Replying to Chhattisgarh's 238, Punjab were 57 for 1 overnight. Opener Jiwanjot Singh moved from 40 to 75 (108 balls, 9x4) before both he and Uday Kaul fell in the space of five overs to leave Punjab 122 for 3. That brought Anmolpreet and Gurkeerat together, and the fourth-wicket pair proceeded to add 212 off 211 balls. Medium-pacer Shourabh Kharwar, who would go on to end the day with three wickets, dismissed Gurkeerat for 111 (112 balls, 17x4), but Punjab's dominance did not cease. Anmolpreet added 55 for the fifth wicket with Abhishek Gupta (33), 42 for the sixth with Abhishek Sharma (24), and an unbroken 50 for the seventh with Vinay Choudhary (19*) to end the day batting on 171 (183 balls, 20x4, 2x6). This was 19-year-old Anmolpreet's second hundred in successive first-class matches.

Mohammed Shami and Ashok Dinda led Bengal's defence of their first-innings 419, leaving Himachal Pradesh five down and trailing by 256 runs at stumps at Eden Gardens.

Fifties from Priyanshu Khanduri and Sumeet Verma, who added 92 for the second wicket, moved Himachal to a solid 101 for 1, but they then lost four wickets for the addition of only 58 runs, the last two falling in the last two overs of the day. Shami and Dinda picked up two wickets apiece, while the other wicket went to the third seamer Mukesh Kumar. Shami was expensive, though, conceding 74 in 13 overs.

Bengal began the day on 306 for 5, with captain Manoj Tiwary batting on 78. He put on 64 for the sixth wicket with Shreevats Goswami (28) and brought up his 24th first-class hundred before being seventh out for 123 (223b, 11x4, 1x6). Shami then came in at No. 9 and tonked 26 off 22 balls to help the last three wickets add 31 to Bengal's total. Seamers Rishi Dhawan and Pankaj Jaiswal, who mopped up the lower order, finished with four and three wickets respectively.

Offspinner Akshay Wakhare chipped away at Services' batting to leave Vidarbha in control at the old VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Replying to Vidarbha's 385, Services went to stumps at 141 for 4, their hopes pinned on the middle-order batsman Rahul Singh, who was batting on 57. Wakhare, who did the bulk of Vidarbha's bowling, ended the day with figures of 23-8-43-3.

Starting the day on 259 for 3, Vidarbha lost their last seven wickets for 126 runs. Overnight centurion Faiz Fazal only added eight runs to his score before falling for 136, and wickets fell steadily thereafter, but Ganesh Satish held firm at one end, scoring 78 off 131 balls (11x4, 1x6) before he was eighth man out.