Madhya Pradesh scent big win over Railways

A round-up of the fifth round of Ranji Trophy's Group A matches on December 10, 2012

Railways 214 (A Yadav 53, Pandey 6-61) and 54 for 5 trail Madhya Pradesh 377 (Rameez 128, Rajan 69, Bangar 4-81) by 109 runs
Madhya Pradesh shelved the safety-first approach so common in Ranji Trophy by enforcing the follow-on against Railways after taking a 163-run first-innings lead. They were rewarded for their positive move with five second-innings wickets before stumps, as Railways' top order folded with little resistance. Railways ended the day on 54 for 5, still over a 100 behind. MP were in a position to decide whether to ask Railways to bat again thanks to quick bowler Ishwar Pandey, who took his fourth five-for in three matches to roll over Railways for 214. Railways could have been bowled out for even less, but a battling half-century from No. 8 Ashish Yadav lifted them above 200.
Mumbai 364 for 3 (Rohit 163*, Pawar 78, Shah 54*) trail Punjab 580 (Mandeep 211, Amitoze 91, Inder Singh 76) by 216 runs
A day after being ignored by the national selectors for the Test squad, Rohit Sharma gave them a reminder of his talent with an unbeaten 163 that kept Mumbai in with a chance of overhauling Punjab's massive first-innings total of 580. It was Rohit's 14th first-class century, and second of the season, and it pushed his career average above 60. Rohit's knock will get the headlines but there were solid supporting performances: first from opener Kaustubh Pawar, who made a watchful 78 and later by the in-form Hiken Shah, who ended the day unbeaten on 54. Mumbai are still more than 200 runs away and a couple of early wickets will make runaway leaders Punjab favourites to take the first-innings lead.
Bengal 112 for 9 (Tiwary 55, Jadeja 4-48) and 65 for 3 need another 366 runs to beat Saurashtra 209 (Jadeja 70, Saxena 5-17) and 333 for 8 dec (Jackson 118*, Jadeja 68, Vasavada 59, Saxena 6-133)
Sheldon Jackson, playing only his fourth first-class game and yet to establish himself in the Saurashtra side, picked the perfect time to score his maiden century, and it set Bengal a mammoth target of 431 on a tricky pitch. The in-form Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed after he added just one run to his overnight score, but Jackson and another youngster playing his fourth game, Aarpit Vasavada, put on 116 for the sixth wicket to effectively bat Bengal out of the game. Bengal left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena followed up his first innings five-for with a six-wicket bag but it wasn't enough to stop Saurashtra from dominating. Bengal fell into a deeper hole towards stumps as they lost three early wickets, including that of Wriddhiman Saha, to leave Saurashtra sniffing an outright victory. To make matters worse for Bengal, their best batsman Manoj Tiwary has been ruled out for around six weeks due to a back injury.
Rajasthan 294 (Kanitkar 100*, Dhurve 6-65) and 29 for 2 lead Gujarat 312 (Parthiv 92, Gohel 63) by 11 runs
It was a tense battle for the first-innings lead in Ahmedabad, but Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel's resolute 92 helped his side overtake Rajasthan's 294 and in all likelihood secure three points. Parthiv continued his astonishing form, with his ninth fifty-plus score in ten innings that put him second on the Ranji run-charts this season. Gujarat had fallen to 247 for 8, but a patient 42-run stand for the ninth wicket between Parthiv and Kushang Patel guided them to within five runs of Rajasthan's total before Parthiv fell. Gujarat's last-wicket pair, however, kept their cool to add the six crucial runs.