While Punjab got tough resistance from Mumbai, Gujarat took the lead over Raj as Saurashtra and MP took control.
Rajkot: Chasing a target of 431 to win, Bengal found themselves tottering at 65 for 3 after Sheldon Jackson’s unbeaten century knock of 118 had put Saurashtra in a commanding position against Bengal as they declared their second innings on 333 for 8 setting the visitors with an improbable target of 431 to chase down.
Ravindra Jadeja could only add a single to his overnight score of 67 before getting out to Iresh Saxena, who picked up six wickets in the innings. Lower order batsman Aarpit Vasavada supported Jackson well scoring 59 as Saurashtra piled on the runs.
In reply, Bengal lost their opener Arindam Das (4) in the second over of the innings who was scalped by medium pacer Saurya Sanandiya. Debabrata Das could not stay in the middle long enough and was soon followed to the pavilion by wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha for just three runs. Ravindra Jadeja got Saha’s wicket lbw to leave Bengal tottering at 65 for 3 still needing 366 runs more for a win with one day to go.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 209 and 333 for 8 dec. (Sheldon Jackson 118*, Iresh Saxena 6 for 133) vs Bengal 112 and 65 for 3 (Rohan Banarjee 28*)
In Mumbai, After piling up a mammoth 580 in their first innings on day 2, Punjab hit a roadblock on day 3 in the form of Rohit Sharma (163*) as the middle order batsman took Mumbai to 364 for 3 at the close of play. After losing Aditya Tare for 18 yesterday, Kaustubh Pawar (78) and Ajinkya Rahane (31) laid a solid platform for a big score which was later utilised by Sharma along with Hiken Shah (54*) who got together for a 171-run stand. For Punjab, Harbhajan Singh and Siddarth Kaul got one wicket a piece.
Brief Scores: Punjab 580 (Mandeep 211; Agarkar 3 for 95) lead Mumbai 364 for 3 (Rohit Sharma 163*, Kaustubh Pawar 78) by 216 runs.
At Bhubaneswar, Madhya Pradesh ended day three on a commanding position scalping five Railways wickets after asking the hosts to follow-on. At the close of play, Railways were 54 for 5 (f/o) trailing Madhya Pradesh by 109 runs. After Railways managed to all out MP for 377, the hosts were bundled for 214 on a very damp pitch with right arm medium pacer Ishwar Pandey taking six wickets of 61 runs. Ashish Yadav top scored for Railways with a well made 53.
Following-on, Railways were jolted by early blows as Anand Rajan and Amarjeet Singh got two wickets each to leave railways 24 for 4. At the close of play Vairamudi Cheluvaraj (23*) and Mahesh Rawat (3) were at the middle.
Brief Scores: Railways 214 and 54 for 5 (f/o) (Cheluvaraj 23*; Amarjeet Singh 2 for 6) trail Madhya Pradesh 377 (Rameez Khan 128, Anand Rajan 69; Sanjay Bangar 4 for 89)
At Ahmedabad, Gujurat were able to take a slender lead over Rajasthan as the hosts managed 312 runs in the first innings courtesy a valiant 92 by captain Parthiv Patel a late flourish by Kushang Patel (26). After starting on the overnight score of 104 for 1, Gujarat lost their way a bit with a middle order collapse losing couple of wickets in quick successions but Kushang’s 26 ensured that the hosts surpass Rajasthan’s first innings total.
In their second innings, Rajasthan lost both their openers, Sourabh Chouhan (6) and Vineet Saxena (16) cheaply. At the close of play Robin Bist was at the middle with Rajasthan’s score on 29 for 2.
Brief Scores: Gujarat 312 (Parthiv Patel 92, Samit Gohel 63; Gajendra Singh 3 for 67) trail Rajasthan 294 and 29 for 2 (Vineet Saxena 16; Dhruve 1/4) by 11 runs.