With the Indian team yet to settle on an opening partner for Virender Sehwag, Punjab's Ravneet Ricky threw his hat into the ring with a belligerent 133 as his team seized control of their Group B match against Assam. Yuvraj Singh, fighting to get back his place in the Test team, made just 29, but there was a half-century for Pankaj Dharmani, another of the domestic stalwarts that Indian cricket forgot.
Elsewhere, Mumbai choked off the runs as Madhya Pradesh dawdled to 164 for 7 by stumps. Naman Oja (33) and Amay Khurasiya added 50 for the second wicket, and Nikhil Patwardhan chipped in with an unbeaten 34 late in the day as runs came in a trickle. For Mumbai, Wilkin Mota (3 for 21) and Swapnil Hazare (2 for 43) took the bowling honours, while Ajit Agarjar went wicketless.
Also in Group A, Gujarat recovered well from a mid-afternoon wobble to post 286 for 7 against Karnataka. Parthiv Patel made just 16, but there were half-centuries for Mukund Parmar (73) and Niraj Patel (54). For Karnataka, both Vinay Kumar and Dodda Ganesh picked up three wickets apiece, but they were frustrated late in the day by Siddharth Trivedi and Timil Patel, who batted through to stumps.
On a day of mixed fortunes for those trying to find their way back into the Indian squad, there was a fine unbeaten 68 from Jai P Yadav as Railways made 305 for 9 against Bengal. Tejinder Pal Singh (86) and Amit Pagnis (57), who used to represent Mumbai, provided the early impetus, while Bengal were indebted to Ranadeb Bose (4 for 52) and Sabir Ali (3 for 48), their new-ball combination.
In the other group A encounter, Delhi made sedate progress to 258 fo 2 by stumps, with Aakash Chopra managing a laboured 78 (245 balls). Shikhar Dhawan, his opening partner, slammed a stylish 49, but the innings of the day came from Mithun Manhas, who stroked an unconquered 91 against an insipid Andhra Pradesh attack.
In Group B, Baroda had one of their consistent performers to thank for a close-of-play score of 290 for 6 against Maharashtra. Satyajit Parab made 120 and added 164 for the first wicket with Connor Williams (58) before Iqbal Siddiqui, who played his only Test for India three years ago against England at Mohali, made inroads into the batting line-up. Siddiqui ended the day with figures of 5 for 78, but Maharashtra's late rally was thwarted by the experienced duo of Nayan Mongia (42) and Jacob Martin (40).
And in the other game in the same group, Tamil Nadu's batsmen produced a torpor-ridden performance against Uttar Pradesh. Sivaramakrishnan Vidyut managed a stolid 52, and there were contributions from Sridharan Sriram, S Badrinath and S Sharath as the home side crawled to 197 for 4 by stumps. For Uttar Pradesh, RP Singh was the best of the bowlers on view, finishing with 3 for 54.
Jai Prakash Yadav
India Domestic Season