Rajasthan strike after Chopra triple ton

Round-up of the third day of the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy Plate League

Three wickets stand between Rajasthan and the quarter-finals as they reduced Maharashtra to 280 for 7 in Nasik, after declaring on a mammoth 641. Aakash Chopra, unbeaten on 262 overnight, duly completed his first triple hundred, remaining unbeaten on 301. Chopra's marathon effort lasted over 13-and-a-half hours, took 582 deliveries, and contained 36 fours and three sixes. After being in the field for more than two days, the strain showed on Maharashtra's batsmen as most of them got out after getting starts. Deepak Chahar got Rajasthan the breakthrough with a double strike in the tenth over, sending back Harshad Khadiwale and bowling Swapnil Gugale. Sangram Atitkar (42) resisted briefly before Pankaj Singh and Chahar struck to reduce Maharashtra to 149 for 6. Nikhil Paradkar led a recovery with an unbeaten half-century, but Rajasthan are still ahead by 361 runs, and firm favourites to progress to the Super League.
Madhya Pradesh had their noses in front going in to the final day in Indore, as Andhra finished on 284 for 9, giving them a lead of just 173. Andhra, having no choice but to go for quick runs in order to set a target, were anchored by B Sumanth, who remained unbeaten on 85. Shankara Rao made a half-century while Venugopal Rao and Hemal Watekar chipped in with thirties. Andhra rattled along at close to five an over, but also kept losing wickets regularly, mainly to MP's opening combination of TP Sudhindra and Anand Rajan. Ankit Sharma (68) had earlier added useful runs to extend MP's lead past 100, before they were bowled out for 341, a lead that could prove vital in the final analysis.