Cheteshwar Pujara thumped his third century on the trot
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|Saurashtra 643 for 4 (Pujara 176, Pathak 170, Chauhan 104) v Mumbai
Cheteshwar Pujara is running on something else this season. This time it was Mumbai who suffered, with Pujara's third consecutive hundred - even a slight fever couldn't stop him - helping Saurashtra pile up 643 for 4 on day two in Rajkot. The Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground is a notorious batting track, but Pujara's run has been excellent. Aiding Mumbai's pain was Chirag Pathak, who made 170, Shitanshu Kotak, and Ravindra Jadeja and captain Jaydev Shah, who had put on 50 for the fifth wicket before the close.
Resuming on 285 for 1, Saurashtra lost Pathak after he extended his overnight 145. That brought Pujara to the crease, and he made Mumbai toil. After an unbeaten 302 against Orissa and 189 against Punjab, Pujara raised three figures from just 119 balls. The next fifty took 30 balls. His 176 consumed 173 balls and included 21 fours and two sixes; he fell to former India legspinner Sairaj Bahutule. "It was hard to play as they were bowling a negative line and length," he told the Indian Express. "But I have been in good form and was able to keep the scoreboard ticking. A century against Mumbai is always a big thing. They come with a reputation and runs against them mean a certain confidence boost."
Pujara was involved in a 179-run stand with Kotak, who batted as only he can making a patient 78 from 213 deliveries. Jadeja, on 42, and Shah, on 25, further compounded Mumbai's problems. For the visitors, Usman Malvi took 2 for 122 runs while Bahutule had unflattering figures of 1 for 153.
Rajasthan 25 for 0 trail Hyderabad 553 for 6 (Laxman 224, Quadri 100*) by 528 runs
Another man in splendid form, VVS Laxman, punished Rajasthan to the tune of another double-century at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Back captaining his state side after a stellar run in the Test series against Laxman, Laxman struck 224 from 360 balls before declaring on 553 for 6.
Four short of a hundred when he took guard on the second morning, Laxman duly reached his 46th first-class hundred, and didn't look back. A platform had been laid on day one, and Laxman ensured it was not squandered against a weak bowling attack. Rajasthan took two relatively early wickets, but Laxman's effort was complimented by a maiden hundred from Syed Quadri, in his third appearance for Hyderabad.
Quadri, who was given a life on 64 when Gajendra Singh failed to hold on to a caught-and-bowled chance, could not have had a better partner than Laxman. In his debut season, what Quadri has to learn from Laxman is palpable, and today he helped add 304 with his senior. Laxman collected 21 boundaries in his knock, while Quadri had seven. Laxman was the last wicket to fall at 519, and Hyderabad closed their innings after Quadri reached three figures. Rajasthan finished on 25 for 0 in eight overs.
Punjab 60 and 59 for 1 trail Orissa 352 (Mullick 100*, Halhadar Das 80) by 233 runs
A second day of dominance by Orissa left Punjab gasping for air in Bhubaneswar. On the first day medium-pacer Basanth Mohanty wrecked Punjab with seven wickets, and on the second Pravanjan Mullick and Halhadar Das wielded their bats to maintain the pressure.
Orissa began the day with an 88-run lead and finished it 233 ahead. Five down when play resumed, Orissa were taken to 352 thanks to Mullick's unbeaten 100 and Das' 80. The last five wickets added 204, but it was the 143-run stand between Mullick and Das that really frustrated Punjab. Das hit 11 fours and a pair of sixes in his 119-ball innings before he was seventh out at 329. Manpreet Gony and Sarabjit Ladda took the last four wickets but couldn't prevent Mullick reaching his 18th first-class hundred.
Punjab made one run short of their first-innings total by stumps, losing Sunny Sohal to Debasis Mohanty early, but are really up against it against a side eyeing their first win of the season.
Uttar Pradesh 290 for 6 (Shivakant Shukla 131, Parvinder Singh 68) lead Maharashtra 221 by 69 runs
Uttar Pradesh took a 69-run lead over Maharashtra thanks to a Shivakant Shukla's 131and 68 from Parvinder Singh, who added 137 for the second wicket. Once the two were separated, Maharashtra did well to take six wickets for 141, including Mohammad Kaif for 20, but UP will be pleased with the advantage gained at the Green Park in Kanpur.
Shivakant and Parvinder walked out with UP 86 for 1, and added 63 more runs to their partnership. Once Parvinder was out for 68 in the 56th over, left-arm medium-pacer Samad Fallah removed Kaif and and Ravikant Shukla for the addition of just four runs. Shivakant marched on to his second century and was Fallah's third wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, on 29, and RP Singh, on 9, will resume batting on day three.
Delhi 199 for 6 (Chabra 63, Nagar 40*) trail Gujarat 350 (Thaker 151) by 151 runs
Delhi's woes continued against second-placed Gujarat at Valsad, where they slipped to 199 for 6 in reply to another solid batting display from the hosts. Bhavik Thakker extended his overnight century to 151 and was last out for at 350. His application had helped add 131 with the last four wickets, but Delhi did well to clean up Gujarat's tail for 40 runs when the day began.
It was with the bat that Delhi disappointed. Shikhar Dhawan made 0, Aakash Chopra batted 60 balls for 19, Mithun Manhas got just 11, and Mayank Tehlan could get only 19. Thus it was left to Gaurav Chabra, 21 and playing his fourth match, to score his maiden first-class half-century. Chabra's 63, from 128 balls with 11 boundaries, held up on end until he fell at 162 for 6. Debutant Yogesh Nagar impressed with an unbeaten 40 and Delhi trail by 151 at stumps.
Railways 208 for 8 (Sanyal 70) lead Andhra 208 by 0 runs
Railways just managed to draw level with Andhra at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi, finishing day two on 208 for 8, the same score that the opposition had made. It was an ultimately disappointing batting display from the hosts after they kept Andhra to a low total - there was but one half-century and the top order had been wrecked early. Veteran batsman Sanjib Sanyal made 70 but failed to go further, and only Raja Ali's 37 from 107 balls at No. 8 really boosted Railways' cause.
Doddapaneni Kalyankrishna and Paidikalva Vijaykumar, Andhra's new-ball duo, had left Railways 16 for 3. Yere Goud made just 13, falling to Satyakumar Verma at 121 for 5, and Sanyal departed one run later. Ali and Murali Kartik (18 not out) helped get the score over 200.
Karnataka 347 for 7 (Naidu 90, Dravid 83, Joshi 55, Akhil 40*) lead Baroda 169 (Solanki 53, Raju 4-30) by 178 runs
Rahul Dravid took them out of troubled waters, Thilak Naidu consolidated their position before Sunil Joshi's breezy knock allowed Karnataka to seize the advantage by the end of the second day in Bangalore. (Read the full report