Jamshedpur: Jiwanjyot Singh (131) and Taruwar Kohli (151 not out) hit centuries to help Punjab take the crucial first-innings lead over Jharkhand and assure themselves of a place in the Ranji Trophy's last-four stage on the on the fourth and penultimate day here Wednesday.
In reply to Jharkhand's first innings total of 401, Punjab reached 435 for three at stumps on day four of their quarterfinal tie with Kohli unbeaten at crease. With Punjab having already taken a 34-run lead with seven wickets still remaining, the match is headed for a draw with the visitors, in all probability making the next round on basis of their first innings total.
Besides, Jiwanjyot and Kohli, Mandeep Singh also chipped in with valuable 96 off 230 balls, laced with 12 boundaries. Resuming at 150 for one, overnight batsmen -- Jiwanjyot, starting at 77 and Kohli, on 26 -- did not have any trouble in facing the Jharkhand attack on a flat Keenan Stadium wicket. The duo put on a 156-run stand for the second wicket before host captain and left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem got the breakthrough for Jharkhand by dismissing Jiwanjyot.
It was the fifth century of Jiwanjyot, who made debut in the first class cricket this season. He faced 250 balls and struck 19 boundaries to notch up his 131. Kohli was then joined by Mandeep and they together stitched a 204-run partnership for the third wicket. Kohli's unbeaten knock came off 381 deliveries and included 16 fours and a six.
Playing with four regular bowlers, Jharkhand brought in part timers -- Ishank Jaggi, Akash Verma and Manish Vardhan -- to break Kolhi-Mandeep partnership. And finally Vardhan managed to strike in the first delivery of his second over to get Mandeep caught in the mid-wicket region. Mandeep was unlucky as he fell four runs short of his ton.
Jharkhand 1st innings: 401 all out
Punjab 1st innings: 435 for three in 155.1 overs (Jiwanjyot Singh 131, Taruwar Kohli batting 151; Shahbaz Nadeem 2/121).