Himachal and Bengal seize control

A round-up for the first day's play of the third-round matches of the Ranji Trophy Plate League

Cricinfo staff
Top Curve
Ganguly to play for Bengal
  • Use this class for non-bulleted text. Sourav Ganguly will play Bengal's final league game against Vidharba in Nagpur starting December 12. Bengal were relegated to Plate this season and took a single point from their draw in the opening game. Arun Mitra, the joint-secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, confirmed Ganguly had agreed to play the Vidharba game.
  • "We had requested him repeatedly to play for Bengal and, having seen the proceedings today with Bengal taking a huge lead, Ganguly said the team is playing very well. 'I don't think I should come in the very next match. Give me some time and I will turn up for Bengal from the Vidarbha match onwards,' Ganguly told me today," Mitra said.
Bottom Curve
Jammu & Kashmir 22 for 4 (Malik 3-9) trail Himachal Pradesh 295 (Thakkar 122, Mannu 50, Beigh 6-94) by 273 runs
Group A leaders Himachal Pradesh slipped from 232 for 4 to 295 all out on the first day in Dharamsala, but a three-wicket burst from medium-pacer Vikramjeet Malik put them in firm command of the match against Jammu and Kashmir. Bhavin Thakkar scored 122 for the hosts but there was not much support from his team-mates, with Ajay Mannu the only other batsman to go past 30.
Thakkar added 61 for the first wicket with Sangram Singh, before Samiullah Beigh had him caught by the wicketkeeper in the 13th over. HP were in a spot of bother at 104 for 4 before Mannu and Thakkar pushed the score to 232. Beigh then dismissed the duo and finished with 6 for 94. Pranav Mahajan, the left-arm medium-pacer, chipped in with 3 for 35 and HP lost their last six wickets for 63. In reply, J&K's top four couldn't last the remaining 12 overs of the day. Malik, the leading wicket-taker in the league, prised out the first three wickets and offspinner Sarandeep Singh had Manoj Joglekar trapped lbw.
Kerala 214 for 6 (Sarma 103*, Billa 4-39) v Haryana
At Fort Maidan in Palakkad, Kerala overcame a disastrous start to end the day at 214 for 6. Opener Sambasiva Sarma's maiden first-class century anchored the innings, after Jitender Billa removed Sony Cheruvathur and VA Jagadeesh for ducks. Billa who took the next two wickets as well, and Sarma added useful stands of 45 and 78. The sixth-wicket partnership put on 65 as Karimuttathu Rakesh gave Sarma company for 25.3 overs with his 81-ball 24. Rakesh was run out in the 90th over, and Sarma will resume batting on 103.
Jharkhand 77 for 4 trail Goa 190 (Jakati 68, Bandekar 49, Rao 5-51) by 113 runs
Goa recovered from an abysmal start - they were down to 26 for 5 after choosing to bat - to finish the first day in Margao very much in the contest. Shadab Jakati top scored with 68 from No. 6 and Saurabh Bandekar made 49 down the order to help the hosts reach 190 in the first innings. Besides Jakati and Bandekar, only two other batsmen - No's 7 and 9 - made it to double digits and extras, 21, were the third-highest contributors to their score. Medium-pacer Shankar Rao took 5 for 51 in 17.3 overs. Jharkhand, though, let Goa wriggle out of an embarrassing situation and themselves slipped to 36 for 3. They were at 77 for 4 at stumps.
Bengal 109 for 0 (Majumdar 48*, Banerjee 42*) lead Services 107 (Sarkar 5-21, Shukla 3-8) by one run
A hat-trick in the last game sent Services crashing to an innings defeat and a similar result looms for them in their match against Bengal at Eden Gardens. Put in to bat, Services were shot out for 107, with medium-pacer Sourav Sarkar taking his second first-class five-for, and allrounder Laxmi Shukla grabbing 3 for 8 in nine overs. Services' first innings lasted only 47.1 overs and their score was overhauled by Bengal's openers in the 30.1 overs faced before stumps. Anustup Majumdar and Rohan Banerjee made unbeaten 40s, with Services conceding 19 extras in Bengal's 109 for 0.
Vidarbha 188 for 6 (Paradkar 56*, TS Saha 5-50) v Tripura
There was a five-wicket haul for Tripura left-arm spinner Tushar Saha in Agartala. However, Ranjit Paradkar's unbeaten 56 guided Vidarbha to 188 for 6 at close on the first day. Vidarbha, put in to bat, had a steady 49-run start. Opener Faiz Fazal, who made an unbeaten 200 in the previous game, was the second to fall: he made 40 with the score at 74. Saha got his third wicket in the same over, Alind Naidu caught and bowled, and Tripura made it 75 for 4 when Saha caught Ravi Jangid off Jayanta Debnath's offspin. Paradkar and Shalabh Shrivastava (34) took the visitors to 146. Saha added two more scalps and Vidarbha crawled at a run-rate of 2.06 in the 91 overs they faced in the day.