Punjab were on course for their second win of the season after Anmolpreet Singh's career-best 267 and Gurkeerat Singh's 111 helped set up a declaration on 653 for 9 in Raipur. Having a deficit of 415 to wipe out to avoid an innings defeat, Chhattisgarh were tottering at 128 for 4 in the second innings at stumps on day three, with Sandeep Sharma and Barinder Sran, the new ball pair, picking two wickets. Punjab, currently placed third in Group D, are primed for full points.
Anmolpreet, resuming on 171, added 96. Along the way, he found support from the last five batsmen, who put together 150 to help Punjab swell their lead. Of these, No. 9 batsmanVinay Choudhary contributed 49 while Sran, the last man, blasted three sixes and a four in his unbeaten 14-ball 27. Prateek Sinha, Sumit Ruikar and Shourabh Karwar picked up three wickets each for Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh, faced with the realistic option of batting for a draw to garner one point, slipped to 92 for 4, before an unbroken 79-run stand between half-centurion Ashutosh Singh and Siddharth Chandrakar frustrated Punjab towards close of play.
Half-centuries from openers Priyanshu Khanduri and Prashant Chopra helped Himachal wipe out their 213-run deficit against Bengal after being made to follow-on and nudge ahead by two, with eight second-innings wickets still intact, after three days of play in Kolkata. A draw here could mean both sides would be tied on points in the top half of the standings.
Himachal wobbled briefly when Chopra and Sumeet Verma, the captain, fell within the space of four overs. But they were driven forward by Nikhil Gangta, who is coming off two centuries in his previous two matches. Gangta was unbeaten on 43 alongside rookie Khanduri, who was 67 not out. Earlier in the day, Himachal, resuming on 163 for 5, were bowled out for 206 with Ashok Dinda finishing with 5 for 61.
Resuming on 141 for 4, Services lost Rahul Singh (63) early in the day. Vikas Yadav and wicketkeeper-batsman Nakul Verma then propped their side up with a 108-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Muzzaffaruddin Khalid contributed 21 to push the score beyond 300. Umesh Yadav and Karn Sharma assisted Wakhare by bagging two wickets each.
Vidarbha then lost Wasim Jaffer for 25 in their second dig, but captain Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy put on 67 for the second wicket to steady the side. Fazal fell for 46 just before stumps, but Ramaswamy and nightwatchman Karn Sharma saw off the day without any further damage.