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Record-breaking Pujara, Saha stand out

Wriddhiman Saha takes a catch to send back Matthew Wade Associated Press

Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami

The India Test pair teamed up to effect four dismissals. Saha was involved in half the Himachal Pradesh wickets across both innings, netting 10 catches to set a new tournament record. Promoted to open the innings in Bengal's fourth-innings chase of 141, Saha had a shot at the target with an unbeaten 34 off 42 balls. But Bengal lost four quick wickets at the other end and had to settle for a draw.

Shami, left out of India's squad for the limited-overs series against New Zealand, finished with his second successive match haul of eight wickets. He initiated Himachal's slide in the first innings, where they lost their last eight wickets for 82 runs and conceded a 213-run lead. He then scooped up five wickets in the follow-on, with scalps at the top, middle and lower down.

Suresh Raina

The Uttar Pradesh captain's iffy form this season extended into a third straight match. Tentative and bereft of confidence, Raina returned with scores of 10 and 16. He was a part of UP's middle-order slide in the first innings that saw them move from 157 for 2 to 185 for 5. He made a more aggressive start to his second dig, sprinting to a run-a-ball 16 before nicking behind off his opposite number Ishant Sharma.

Ishant Sharma, Gautam Gambhir and Rishabh Pant

Ishant reaped the benefits of tight lines to finish with identical figures of 3 for 38 in both innings. He was responsible for ending a burgeoning third-wicket stand in UP's first innings. He then played a part in limiting UP's overall lead to 251 by snaring three of the four wickets they lost inside the first nine overs. Delhi eventually chased down the 252-run target with four wickets in hand.

Gambhir's aggressive half-century set the tone for Delhi's reply to UP's first-innings 291. He had made 86 of the 125 runs Delhi had made at the time of his dismissal. But Delhi unraveled rapidly after Gambhir's dismissal despite Dhruv Shorey's stoic resistance. They eventually fell short of UP's score by 22 runs, with Shorey left stranded on 98. Gambhir was Delhi's first loss in their chase, as he slashed medium-pacer Ankit Rajpoot to the keeper for 1.

Pant middled the ball well but fell short of converting his form into a substantial score in both innings. He struck a typically aggressive 30 off 23 balls in Delhi's first innings before medium-pacer Mohammad Israr found his edge. In the second innings, he hastened Delhi's march towards their target with 26 off 34 balls but failed to see them through, playing Mohammad Saif onto his stumps.

Karun Nair

The middle-order batsman struck his second century in two matches this season as Karnataka buried Maharashtra under a colossal 628 for 5 declared en route to an innings win. Nair partnered triple-centurion Mayank Agarwal in a third-wicket stand of 279. He cut pacer Pradeep Dadhe through the covers to become the third centurion of Karnataka's innings. Nair perished to his favoured reverse sweep for 116, shortly before R Vinay Kumar called for the declaration.

Ajinkya Rahane

The India Test No. 5, playing his first game of the season, fetched mixed returns. He struck a solid 49 and partnered centurion Prithvi Shaw in a 136-run second-wicket stand on a back-and-forth opening day against Odisha. Slow for the most part, Rahane fell after a period of tentativeness when he sent a thick edge flying to the wicketkeeper off an attempted cut. His second innings was less fruitful as he bagged a five-ball duck - his first in 46 innings in the tournament since the 2008-09 season.

Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara

The Saurashtra powerhouses played their second match together this season. Pujara underpinned Saurashtra's 553 for 9 declared with his 12th double-ton, the most by an Indian in first-class cricket. His 355-ball effort spanned a whopping 566 minutes, making for the second-longest innings by a Saurashtra batsman in the Ranji Trophy. Pujara was sent ahead of Robin Uthappa to open Saurashtra's second innings, but was one of the four batsmen to fall in their small chase of 59.

Jadeja, coming into the match on the back of a double-century and seven-wicket match haul against Jammu and Kashmir, had a rare off game with the ball in Rajkot. He ended with combined match figures of 2 for 131. With the bat, he made 42 in Saurashtra's first innings and stemmed the bleeding in their chase to seal a six-wicket win.

Umesh Yadav

The India pacer played a part in sealing the first-innings lead for his team by dismissing half-centurions Rahul Singh and Vikas Yadav. He then opened the gates in Services' chase of 292 by sending back opener Ravi Chauhan for a two-ball duck. Services crashed to 99 all out and lost by 192 runs.