India's Test bowlers were all rested for the fifth round, but their batsmen gained game time ahead of the series against Sri Lanka, starting November 16
Putting an end to his run drought in a bid to regain his Test berth against Sri Lanka, M Vijay brought up his 21st first-class century against Odisha on the opening day in Cuttack. After a half-century in the season opener, Vijay had endured an injury scare followed by a couple of low scores. With the first Test against Sri Lanka coming up later this week, Vijay ensured he had enough batting time during the course of his 140, his highest score so far this year. This, however, didn't translate into a win or even a lead for Tamil Nadu despite posting 530 for 8 declared.
"I enjoyed it. I came with an open mind and wanted to stay out as much as possible," Vijay said after his knock. "The wicket was a bit tricky in the morning and I just played my natural game for the team. Ahead of the Sri Lanka series, I wanted to get a lot of batting. This is exactly what I wanted to take - some positive momentum. I want to contribute in any given opportunity."
India's regular Test No. 3 fell 18 short of what could've been his second double-hundred this season and his 13th overall. But his knock and a partnership with Snell Patel was key to Saurashtra pocketing a first-innings lead against defending champions Gujarat to remain on top of Group B.
Amid talks of failed yo-yo tests and fitness standards, Raina hasn't done his credentials any good by prolonging his form slump. His average after five rounds stands at a little over 13. He was part of Uttar Pradesh's top order collapse against Assam, contributing just 6 as they slipped to 75 for 6 in the first innings. In the second dig, he brought up his highest score this season - 33 - during the course of an 84-run stand with Umang Sharma. He got a wicket in the only over he bowled.
He's yet to feature for India since being left out of the XI for the limited-overs series against Australia and New Zealand. Come the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kolkata, Rahul is certain to be the first-choice opener, barring illness or injury. He couldn't have asked for more game time than by featuring in a Ranji game. He did so and in some style, stroking 92 off 109 balls in the second innings after Karnataka pocketed a lead.
Rahane's return to the domestic fold was far from satisfactory in Mumbai's historic 500th Ranji Trophy match. He was out for a five-ball duck in the first innings as Mumbai tumbled to 171 all out. In the second innings, he made 45 and was the first batsman out on the final day as Baroda smelt victory. They were, however, denied by the lower order.
He was "jet-lagged" because he joined the Karnataka squad little over 12 hours after batting for India in the third and final T20I against New Zealand. On the first day, he batted at No. 5 just to get some extra rest. When he walked out to bat, there was nothing tired about his batting or his stroke play. A sublime 74 could've been much more if he hadn't been in a race to score quickly. The time spent at the crease and runs under his name were very valuable though. In the second innings, he made a solid unbeaten 34.
Hitting form in the match against Hyderabad with his twin fifties, Binny cracked his 10th first-class century in Karnataka's drawn game against Delhi. In his 155-ball 118, laced with 18 boundaries, he set the aggressive tone along with CM Gautam, as the duo structured a solid 111-run sixth-wicket stand. He was the second-highest run scorer for Karnataka in the match, behind Mayank Agarwal, who made 176.
The India wicketkeeper-batsman was out for a duck in the first innings as Bengal were made to follow-on. In the second, he made 97 off 116 balls but couldn't prevent an outright loss. The runs and time spent at the crease though should keep him in a good space as he is set to join the Test squad ahead of the first match against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, where he was Man of the Match the last time India played a Test.
Delhi's senior statesman brought up his 41st first-class century in reply to Karnataka's 649. Gambhir displayed his solid game before unfurling a variety of drives to keep Delhi's hopes of a lead, albeit a slim one, going into the final day. He eventually fell for 144. After five innings, he averages 74 this season.