Manish Pandey's counter-attacking 238, his highest first-class score, ran Uttar Pradesh ragged for a second day running in Kanpur. Karnataka, resuming on 327 for 3, were still going strong at 642 for 7 at stumps on day two. Pandey was well complemented by rookie D Nischal, who struck his maiden first-class ton (195) - as the pair added 354 for the fifth wicket.
Pandey, who wasted a strong start and was out for 70 in his first Ranji outing of the season last week in Alur, rattled along, striking 31 fours and two sixes in his 301-ball knock before falling to seamer Imtiaz Ahmed. In comparison, Nischal, who was returning to fill the void left by KL Rahul's departure to join the Test team, battled along for 425 deliveries. He hit 23 fours in his knock. Not even the pair's dismissal with Karnataka well in control forced R Vinay Kumar, the captain, to insert Uttar Pradesh in towards the fag end of the day. Imtiaz and Dhruv Pratap Singh, the seamers, picked up six wickets between them.
With 23 points in four games, Karnataka are currently Group A toppers. A first-innings lead will seal their quarter-final berth. Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, are placed sixth with little but pride to play for.
Hyderabad kept themselves in contention for a quarter-final berth with a superb bowling display that helped them enforce the follow-on against Assam in Guwahati. Fast bowler Mohammad Muddassir ripped through Assam's line-up to return five wickets on first-class debut and bowl them out in just 48.5 overs for 136. Ravi Kiran, their other frontline seamer, took 3 for 30.
Having to wipe out a 190-run deficit, Assam continued to falter in the second innings, slipping to 36 for 2 at stumps. Riyan Parag, the 16-year-old who was part of India's Under-19 squad that returned from the Asia Cup earlier in the week, had a forgettable first-class debut, falling for 3 to take his match tally to 12 runs. Sibsankar Roy was the second batsman to be dismissed, with Ravi Kiran and Ravi Teja taking one wicket apiece. Assam still need to score 154 to prevent an innings defeat.
Hyderabad, currently on nine points in four games, will look for a bonus-point win that could bring them back into the mid-table jostle with Delhi and Railways for the second qualification spot from the group. But the two washouts earlier in the season mean Hyderabad's hopes are also hinged on how Delhi fare.