Ashish Nehra took six wickets for Delhi in their Ranji Trophy match against Baroda on Wednesday, December 30, 2011. (AFP)
New Delhi: A see-saw battle on the second day's play at the Feroz Shah Kotla ended with Delhi and Baroda fighting for the crucial first-innings lead. In the morning session, Ashish Nehra's six-wicket haul reduced Baroda from 273 for 3 to 318 all out, after which Irfan Pathan continued his impressive season with five wickets.
Delhi's push for a lead rested largely with wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht, who was unbeaten on 114 out of a total of 250 for 6.
Baroda's position of dominance was arrested in dramatic fashion in the first session. Overnight centurion Rakesh Solanki could only add six runs to his score before he was caught behind by Bisht off Nehra, who took five wickets on the day. From 283 for 3, Baroda lost their last seven wickets for just 34 runs in 15.1 overs.
Baroda skipper Pinal Shah missed his century by seven runs as he was trapped leg-before by Parvinder Awana and among Baroda's last six batsmen, only Irfan (23) got to double figures while others found it difficult to negotiate with Nehra's controlled swing bowling.
In Irfan, however, Baroda had an in-form enforcer who ensured Delhi didn't have it easy. He bowled Unmukt Chand for a brisk 20 and followed up dismissing Milind Kumar (1), Rajat Bhatia (8) and Yogesh Nagar (0) in relative succession, leaving the home side at 74 for 5.
Delhi skipper Mithun Manhas (49) put on 136 with Bisht to keep Delhi alive, but his dismissal to Pathan, not long before stumps, gave Baroda leverage.
In Jaipur, Parvinder Singh's 91 and a rapid 88 from Piyush Chawla helped Uttar Pradesh to 492 against hosts Rajasthan. The defending champions battled to 119 for 2 by the close, with Robin Bist continuing his good form with an unbeaten 44.
From 292 for 4 overnight, UP lost Arish Alam with the addition of one run to his total and thereby snapped a 126-run partnership. But Parvinder found an able ally in Chawla, who biffed 88 from 71 balls with 16 fours and a six in a 127-run sixth-wicket stand. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (27) and Praveen Gupta (34 not out) ensured Rajasthan had plenty of work to do. For Rajasthan, Vivek Yadav took with 5 for 121, while Deepak Chahar ended 4 for 144 in his marathon 43-over spell. Chawla's wicket was the 200th in first-class cricket for fast bowler Pankaj Singh.
Rajasthan lost out-of-form opener Aakash Chopra (9) and Vineet Saxena (12) early in the piece, to Bhuvneshar, but Bist and veteran Rashmi Ranjan Parida (43 not out) settled the nerves. The home side, though, still trail by 373.
Hosts Bangalore, riding on KB Pawan's 118 and half centuries by skipper Ganesh Satish and Bharat Chipli, consolidated their position at stumps against Saurashtra. From 107 for 1, Karnataka marched to 369 for 4 with Pawan notching up his sixth first-class century.
He collected 15 boundaries during his 222-ball knock before he fell caught and bowled to Siddharth Trivedi. Pawan was ably supported by Satish (54) and Chipli who remained unbeaten on 66 along with Stuart Binny (29 not out).
Bangalore had been 249 for 1 when Trivedi produced the much-needed breakthrough for Saurashtra by having Satish caught by wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani. Saurashtra added Pawan and Amit Verma (18) but were held up by Chipli, who struck eight boundaries, and Binny.
Railways were up against the odds in their match with Punjab, reaching 89 for 5 by stumps on day two after the home side's stand-in captain Uday Kaul stonewalled his way to 131 out of a total of 366. Leading the side in the absence of Harbhajan Singh, Kaul hit 17 boundaries before Krishnakant Upadhayay, who finished with seven for 76, ended his 403-minute stay.
Whatever advantage Upadhyay had done was negated by four wickets to Manpreet Gony, who bowled Shivakant Shukla to trigger the slide. Shreyas Khanolkar nicked a catch, Yere Goud and Mahesh Rawat were lbw and at stumps, skipper Sanjay Bangar was unbeaten on 23 with fellow Railways veteran JP Yadav, batting on eight. Earlier, resuming on 212 for 3, Kaul moved from 82 to three figures while forming a healthy stand with Amitoze Singh (52).
In-form batsman Suryakumar Yadav progressed to a maiden double-century as Mumbai took control against Orissa in Cuttack. Overnight on 69, with Mumbai 311 for 3, Yadav reached his double from just 232 balls with 28 fours and a six before Wasim Jaffer declared at 529 for 8. Down the order, Dhawal Kulkarni scored 61 and as soon as he was out in the post-lunch session, Jaffer called his men in.
In reply, Orissa were staring at the follow on at 57 for 7, a deficit of 472 runs. For Mumbai, Kulkarni took 4 for 17 runs from his nine overs, Aavishkar Salvi 2 for 5, and India pace spearhead Zaher Khan – playing to assess his fitness – took 1 for 20 in six overs.
Bengal had much to do to match Haryana in Rohtak. The home team's last five wickets added 100 to their overnight score, with veteran Sachin Rana (62) and Harshal Patel (26 from 82 balls) offering stubborn resistance. Ashok Dinda took five wickets for Bengal, who lost Robin Banerjee (13) and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (13) to Amit Mishra on the way to 113 for 2 by stumps. Arindam Das was unbeaten on 70.
Thirteen wickets fell on day two at Indore, where hosts Madhya Pradesh took a first-innings lead over Gujarat. MP moved from 51 for 2 to 205 all out, with new-ball bowlers Mehul Patel (5 for 54) and Ishwar Chaudhury (4 for 84) doing the good work for Gujarat. There were just two innings of note: captain Devendra Bundela's 144-ball 50 and 51 off 65 balls from TP Sudhindra down the order. MP came back well, though, to keep Gurajat to 133 for 5 – a lead of 58 – by stumps.
At Delhi: Delhi 250/6 in 60 overs (Puneet Bisht 114 not out, Mithun Manhas 49; Irfan Pathan 5/82) trail Baroda 318 all out in 102.1 overs (Rakesh Solanki 113, Pinal Shah 93; Ashish Nehra 6/102) by 68 runs
At Jaipur: Rajasthan 119/2 in 43 overs (Robin Bist 44 not out, Rashmi Ranjan Parida 43 not out) trail Uttar Pradesh 492 in 134.2 overs (Parvinder Singh 91, Arish Alam 69, Piyush Chawla 88; Vivek Yadav 5/121, Deepak Chahar 4/144) by 373 runs
At Bangalore: Karnataka 369/4 in 105 overs (KB Pawan 118, Bharat Chipli 66 not out, Ganesh Satish 54; Siddharth Trivedi 2/65) v Saurashtra.
At Mohali: Punjab 366 all out in 146.1 overs (Uday Kaul 131, Mandeep Singh 73, Amitoze Singh 52; Krishnakant Upadhayay 7/76) v Railways
At Cuttack: Orissa 57/7 in 29 overs (Dhawal Kulkarni 4/17) trail Mumbai 529/3d (Suryakumar Yadav 200, Kulkarni 61) by 472 runs
At Rohtak: Bengal 113/2 in 51 overs (Arindam Das 70 not out) trail Haryana 358 in 126.2 overs (Sachin Rana 62, Ashok Dinda 5/98) by 245 runs
At Indore: Gujarat 130 and 133/5 in 37 overs (Niraj Patel 39) lead Madhya Pradesh 205 in 64.3 overs (Devendra Bundela 50, TP Sudhindra 51; Mehul Patel 5/54, Ishwar Chaudhury 4/84) by 58 runs.