Hardik Pandya takes five, Shubman Gill one short of double

Puducherry and Bihar completed victory inside two days; Jalaj Saxena made it a birthday to remember, and Shahbaz Nadeem got a maiden first-class 100

Saurabh Somani
Hardik Pandya sprints off in celebration  •  Getty Images

Hardik Pandya sprints off in celebration  •  Getty Images

Hardik Pandya turned his three into five, and Jalaj Saxena made it a 32nd birthday to remember. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill went one better than Shreyas Iyer among batsmen back from India A, and will resume the day on 199 not out. And Shahbaz Nadeem got to a maiden first-class century, completing a happy homecoming for the India A team members, while two matches in the Plate Group finished on the second day itself. Here are the highlights of how the second day of the sixth round for Ranji Trophy 2018-19 went.
Hardik takes five as Baroda fight back
He had three wickets on a high-scoring first day, and Hardik Pandya took the remaining two to end with 5 for 81 with Mumbai all out for 465. That Mumbai scored at five runs per over was not as impressive as Baroda being in the match after Mumbai were 384 for 3. More importantly for Pandya, who bowled 18.5 overs, if his economy rate seemed high, the pitch didn't seem to have much in it for bowlers. Baroda ended the day on 244 for 1. In that light, Hardik's figures are impressive. Are they impressive enough to merit a dash to Australia before the Boxing Day Test though?
Gill, Nadeem lead the way
Yuvraj Singh is playing his second Ranji match of the season, but he hasn't even got to bat yet and Punjab are already ahead by 93 runs against Tamil Nadu. That's thanks to Shubman Gill, who is batting on 199, at a strike-rate of more than 85. Of those runs, 108 have come in boundaries, and Gill has dealt with Tamil Nadu's bowlers imperiously.
Shahbaz Nadeem hit a maiden first-class century, making 109 from No. 8 to drag Jharkhand to 354. For Uttar Pradesh, Dhruv Pratap Singh, the 21-year-old right-arm seamer playing his first match of the season, took career-best figures of 6 for 105. In a match that could well decide who finishes top two and who doesn't, UP ended the day on 173 for 4. Suresh Raina is still batting on 65, and Rinku Singh, UP's best batsman this season, is on 22.
Among other notable batting feats, Abhimanyu Easwaran made a career-best 186 - more than half of Bengal's 336, against Hyderabad. Tripura's Pratyush Singh hit a maiden first-class century, taking his team to a position of strength against Goa.
Two men who didn't get to centuries but made significant 90s were Saurashtra's Vishvaraj Jadeja and Vidarbha's Akshay Karnewar. Vishvaraj, 20, had made 97 on the first day, missing out on a century on debut in Saurashtra's post-Jaydev Shah era, though his team are reasonably placed against Maharashtra. Karnewar, the ambidextrous bowler, hit 94 to lift defending champions Vidarbha from 202 for 6 to 331 all out against Railways.
In the Plate Group, Vineet Saxena is batting on 150, fresh off an unbeaten 202 in his last match, with Uttarakhand dominant against Nagaland.
Birthday-boy Saxena makes Delhi feel the post-Gambhir blues
Jalaj Saxena took 6 for 39 - in 31 overs - to make it a memorable 32nd birthday as Delhi were bowled out for 139 against Kerala and were made to follow on. They've already lost five wickets in 13 overs with just 41 on the board in their second dig, and need 140 runs just to make Kerala bat again. In their first match since Gautam Gambhir's retirement, the Delhi batsmen haven't covered themselves in glory.
Puducherry, Bihar win in two days
Puducherry smothered Arunachal Pradesh by 334 runs to win inside two days to pocket six points. Both teams had already been bowled out once on the first day, and Puducherry rode on Paras Dogra's 139 and Fabid Ahmed's 88 to pile on 351. Arunachal couldn't effect a similar turnaround when they batted, crashing to 71 all out, with Pankaj Singh taking 5 for 25. Captain Rohit Damodaren took 4 for 7 in five overs, and at one point he had figures of 3-3-0-3.
Meghalaya crashed to an innings and 71 runs defeat against Bihar, for whom Ashutosh Aman was the star once again. Aman had already taken 8 for 51 in the first innings, and he followed that with 6 for 17 in the second. He thus had his best match, and innings figures. His first-class career is only five matches old, but he already has 39 wickets, at a stunning average of 4.79. His economy rate is 1.74, and he takes a wicket every 16.5 balls. Almost makes Meghalaya's 46 all out look good.
Tight finishes looming
On the first day, 15 wickets had fallen in the Haryana vs J&K match. On the second, 19 fell. J&K grabbed a slender 16-run lead on the first innings, and then made 205. Yuzvendra Chahal, back for Haryana, took 4 for 37. A target of 222 in a low-scoring match isn't particularly easy, but Irfan Pathan made it more difficult for Haryana with a burst of four wickets.
Rajasthan and Odisha were also engaged in a low-scoring thriller, with 18 wickets falling on second day after 14 had fallen on the first day. Tanvir Ul-Haq (5 for 14) and Aniket Choudhary (5 for 49) had bowled Odisha out for 111 in their first innings. Basant Mohanty took a fifer of his own as Rajasthan then keeled over for 148, leaving Odisha with a target of 173. However, Tanvir added two more wickets, bowling two overs without giving up any runs, as Odisha ended the day on 6 for 2. In the first innings, Tanvir had bowled 23 overs, and so far in the match he's bowled 25 overs for just 14 runs and seven wickets. Spare a thought for Basant Mohanty, who has taken 11 for 49 - his best match figures - but now needs his batsmen to step up.

Brief scores

Groups A and B:
Baroda 244/1 (Waghmode 87*, Solanki 128*) trail Mumbai 465 (Iyer 178, Lad 130, Hardik Pandya 5-81, Bhatt 4-76) by 221 runs in Mumbai
Maharashtra 86/3 (Jadhav 38*) trail Saurashtra 398 (Vishvaraj Jadeja 97, Snell Patel 84, Vasavada 62, Sanklecha 6-103) by 312 runs in Nasik
Karnataka 348/7 (Padikkal 74, Shreyas 93, Nagwaswalla 3-48) lead Gujarat 216 (Panchal 74, Shreyas 2-21, Vinay 2-33) by 132 runs in Surat
Railways 170/2 (Pratham 84*) trail Vidarbha 331 (Fazal 53, Karnewar 94, Avinash Yadav 5-78) by 161 runs in New Delhi
Delhi 139 (Saxena 6-39) & 41/5 (Warrier 3-16) trail Kerala 320 (Rahul 77, Manoharan 77, Saxena 68, Shivam 6-98) by 140 runs in Thumba
Punjab 308/2 (Gill 199*, Mandeep 50*) lead Tamil Nadu 215 (Vijay Shankar 71, Gony 5-55) by 93 runs in Mohali
Hyderabad 20/1 trail Bengal 336 (Easwaran 186, Ravi Kiran 4-46) by 316 runs in Hyderabad
Himachal 320/5 (Chopra 65, Kalsi 103*, Rishi Dhawan 76) lead Andhra 173 (Sai Krishna 74, Jaiswal 5-50) by 147 runs in Amtar
Group C
Uttar Pradesh 173/4 (Garg 54, Raina 65*) trail Jharkhand 354 (Jaggi 95, Kishan 54, Nadeem 109, Dhruv 6-105) by 181 runs in Lucknow
Services 213/2 (Navneet 79*, Paliwal 104*) lead Assam 211 (Sinha 56, Pandey 5-74) by 2 runs in New Delhi
Haryana 145 (Rohit 41, Mudhasir 4-50, Umar Nazir 5-55) & 49/4 (Irfan Pathan 4-10) trail Jammu & Kashmir 161 (Ajit Chahal 3-31, Yuzvendra Chahal 3-50) & 205 (Owais 71, Ajit Chahal 3-55, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-37) by 172 runs in Lahli
Odisha 111 (Choudhary 5-49, Tanvir 5-14) & 6/2 (Tanvir 2-0) trail Rajasthan 135 (Lomror 85, Basant Mohanty 6-20) & 148 (Gautam 51, Basant Mohanty 5-29) by 166 runs in Bhubaneswar
Goa 107/4 (Kauthankar 42*) trail Tripura 358 (Pratyush 110, Rajib Saha 68*, Amit Verma 3-87) by 251 runs in Agartala
Plate Group
Bihar 242 (Babul 43, Lakhan 3-30) beat Meghalaya 125 (Biswa 56, Aman 8-51) & 46 (Aman 6-17, Quadri 4-24) by an innings and 71 runs in Shillong
Bihar 7 points, Meghalaya 0 points
Sikkim 332 (Milind 139, Sinan 3-74) and 75/3 lead Mizoram 161 (Taruwar 74, Chaudhary 5-57) by 246 runs in Jorhat
Puducherry 136 (Fabid 41*, Deendyal 4-36, Neri 3-28) & 351 (Dogra 139, Fabid 88, Deendyal 4-63, Neri 3-76) beat Arunachal 82 (Fabid 6-29) & 71 (Pankaj 5-25, Rohit 4-7) by 334 runs in Goalpara
Puducherry 6 points, Arunachal Pradesh 0 points
Uttarakhand 371/4 (Vineet 150*, Panwar 101) lead Nagaland 207 (Jonathan 69, Dhapola 5-49) by 164 runs in Dehradun

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo