<
>

Panchal's 112* gives Gujarat nine-wicket win

Priyank Panchal caresses the ball through cover AFP

What did the Test stars do?

Rain in southern India had a say as Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh shared a point in Dindigul. R Ashwin took a four-wicket haul, while it wasn't a productive game for M Vijay, who was out for 19. In Rajkot, Cheteshwar Pujara made a half-century in a drawn game, with Saurashtra walking away with three points, but not before he had retired hurt because of a stiff neck.

Top young performers

Akshdeep Nath, leading Uttar Pradesh, banished murmurs of his failed yo-yo test with an imposing 194 to help UP beat Goa and pick up a bonus point in Kanpur. Ricky Bhui made a 370-ball 181 to help Andhra chase down Punjab's 414 for a first-innings lead.

Roosh Kalaria, the left-arm fast bowler, hastened Baroda's end with a career-best 6 for 35 for Gujarat. Victory was achieved when Priyank Panchal celebrated his captaincy debut with an unbeaten 112 in a chase of 168 to help record a nine-wicket win. Panchal had had a blockbuster 2016-17 season, before slipping under the radar in the season that followed.

The thriller

With four overs remaining in the game, Nathu Singh struck twice in four deliveries to give Rajasthan a thrilling win over Jammu & Kashmir. This meant heartbreak for Parvez Rasool, who held fort to make a combative second-innings century as J&K looked to save the match. He was unbeaten in the end. The last pair needed to survive 29 deliveries, but Nathu, off the India A radar because of form and injury concerns, chose the season opener to serve a reminder. He finished with 4 for 83. Earlier in the game J&K's Mohammad Mudhasir picked up a hat-trick in the first innings.

What about Mumbai?

Mumbai had to settle for a draw against Railways in a game where protective masks were brought out to help battle Delhi's infamous smog. Aditya Tare, who spoke at length about the team culture and new leadership, walked away with a final-day century. He had talked up the side's bowling and Tushar Deshpande proved why.

In Trivandrum, Kerala had one full day to bowl out Hyderabad for a lead, but were thwarted by B Sandeep's defiance. In Nadaun, Bengal had a good hit out in the second innings after pocketing a lead against Himachal Pradesh, while Haryana and Tripura walked away with the first-innings lead against Odisha and Services respectively. Jharkhand took the first-innings honours against Assam.

The best rearguard

Faiz Fazal. The Vidarbha captain came up with a monumental second-innings effort after they were asked to follow-on against Maharashtra. Having nothing but one point to salvage on a Pune flatbed, Fazal batted 324 deliveries to make 131, his 17th first-class century. He batted for a day-and-a-half to help Vidarbha not just wipe out the 223-run deficit but also drive forward. They eventually finished with 501 for 8 when the captains shook hands. The defending champions had just gotten out of jail.

Professionals rescue North-East outfits

After struggling to find a regular place for Karnataka, Abrar Kazi celebrated his move to Nagaland with a maiden first-class double century. He also picked nine wickets with his left-arm spin in an imposing bonus-point victory over Mizoram. Similarly, after moving out of Delhi, Milind Kumar found instant success for Sikkim, lifting them from 15 for 5 to 372. His contribution was a mammoth 261 that set up a massive victory against Manipur.

The Delhi duo of Puneet Bisht and Yogesh Nagar struck second-innings half-centuries to give Meghalaya a seven-wicket win over Arunachal Pradesh.

The shortest match

Uttarakhand celebrated their debut with a bonus-point win in just five sessions. At the receiving end were Pragyan Ojha's Bihar, who were shot out for 60 and 169, lasting a combined 73 overs. Needing three to win, Uttarakhand hit a four off the first ball of their second innings. Karn Veer Kaushal and Deepak Dhopola, two homegrown players, starred for them.