Vadodara: Opener Tanmay Srivastava made an unbeaten century before pace spearhead RP Singh struck twice at the fag end to put Uttar Pradesh in sight of an outright win against Baroda in their Group B Ranji Trophy match on Saturday.
Chasing a stiff target of 369, Baroda were reeling at 5 for 2 in their second innings at stumps on third day. Before RP got into the act with two quick wickets late into the day's play, Srivastava laid the foundation by remaining unbeaten on 124, and he was well supported by skipper Suresh Raina (65) and Mukul Dagar (63).
Srivastava hit 14 boundaries and a six while facing 224 balls at the Moti Bagh Stadium, which also saw Raina scoring a century in UP's first innings. Starting their second innings with a crucial 74-run lead behind them, the visitors started on a confident note, with the openers adding 111 runs for the first wicket to put their team in a strong position.
Mohammad Kaif did not last long but Raina along with Srivastava forged another century partnership to virtually knock Baroda out of the contest. Raina struck seven fours while Dagar found the fence nine times.
After UP declared their innings at 294 for 6, senior pacer RP, who grabbed fours wickets on Friday, once again made life difficult for the hosts dealing them two quick blows in the form of Saurabh Wakaskar and Aditya Waghmode.
Wriddhiman Saha gives Bengal 1st innings lead vs Rajasthan
At Jaipur, an useful half-century by Wriddhiman Saha enabled Bengal to get a crucial 82-run first innings lead against hosts Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy Group B league encounter at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
In reply to Rajasthan's first innings score of 244, Bengal managed 326, courtesy 78 from their wicketkeeper-batsman and young Sandipan Das's 43 which gave them the lead. At stumps on the penultimate day, Rajasthan were 62 for 1 in their second innings with another 21 runs required to erase the deficit.
A draw would ensure three points for Bengal, who managed only single point after their opening encounter with Baroda was abandoned without a single ball being bowled.
Starting the day at 172 for 3, Wriddhiman and Subhomoy Das (21) added exactly 50 runs for the fourth wicket before Das was trapped leg-before by left-arm seamer Aniket Chaudhary (5 for 93). Within another six runs, skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1) was removed by Chaudhary as he was caught by Rajasthan skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
At 227 for 6 with 18 runs to take lead, Wriddhiman and Sandipan coolly took Bengal past magic figure of 244. Wriddhiman hit 10 fours in his 159-ball knock while Sandipan, a member of the Unmukt Chand led victorious India U-19 squad, struck seven boundaries.
Wriddhiman-Sandipan added 55 runs for the sixth wicket before he was bowled by veteran pacer Pankaj Singh (4 for 87). Sandipan unfortunately got hit-wicket to become Chaudhary's fifth victim of the innings. Allrounder Sourashis Lahiri (24) hit a few lusty blows as Bengal crossed 325-run mark.
In the second innings, debutant pacer Manojit Ghosh struck early as he cleaned up opener Saurabh Chouhan (13) but in-form Vineet Saxena (28 batting) and Robin Bist (19 batting) batted confidently for the next 28 overs.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan 244 & 62 for 1 (Vineet Saxena 28 batting, Manojit Ghosh 1 for 29); Bengal 326 (Wriddhiman Saha 78, Rohan Banerjee 77, Sandipan Das 43, Aniket Chaudhary 5 for 93)
Railways take 10-run first innings lead over Saurashtra
At New Delhi, stumper Mahesh Rawat hit a patient half-century to help Railways take a 10-run lead over Saurashtra as the low-scoring Ranji Trophy Group B match was heading for a draw.
Railways were bowled out for 175 after starting the day at 61 for 4 as Saurashtra's young paceman Jaydev Unadkat (5 for 53) returned a five-wicket haul. Saurashtra were 54 for 2 in their second innings at the end of third day's play with Bhushan Chauhan (24) and Sheldon Jackson (3) at the crease.
In the morning session, the hosts lost Nitin Bhille (23) early but overnight batsman Mahesh Rawat scored a timely 62 to save his side blushes.
Experienced Murali Kartik too played a crucial role in his side taking first innings lead with an unbeaten knock of 43 while Anureet Singh contributed 11 runs. It was Abhishek Bhatt who dealt a double blow to Railways as he bowled Bhille and had Karn Sharma (7) caught behind.
Dharmendrasinh Jadeja saw the back of Rawat and then Unadkat polished off the lower order with three wickets. But by that time, Railways had taken first innings lead and if match ends in a draw it will give them three points.
Saurashtra's have lost opener Chirag Pathak (11) and Sagar Jogiyani (14) in their second innings.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra: 165 and 54 for 2 in 39 overs; Railways 1st innings: 175 all out in 70.1 overs. (M Rawat 62, Murali Kartik 43 not out; J Unadkat 5 for 53).
Tamil Nadu hold edge against struggling MP
At Indore, Tamil Nadu held the upper hand as they left Madhya Pradesh struggling at 221 for 7 after declaring their first innings at a mammoth 532 for 8 in their Group B Ranji Trophy match.
The experienced Devendra Bundela, leading the side, seemed to be waging a lone battle as he remained unbeaten on 64 at stumps on day three.
Naman Ojha was dismissed after making 41 while three other batsmen got out in their 20s at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Bundela hit eight fours and two sixes while Ojha struck six boundaries and a six.
Giving Bundela company at stumps was Anand Rajan, who was batting on 29 off 91 balls. Rajan hit six fours during his stay in the middle.
For Tamil Nadu, left-arm spinner R Aushik Srinivas emerged as the day's best bowler, returning impressive figures of 3 for 38.
The wily L Balaji had two wickets to his name while there was one for Sunil Sam. Madhya Pradesh's middle-order batsman Mohnish Mishra could not open his account as he was run out by Vijay Shankar.
Tamil Nadu declared their innings at the start of the day's play, with Subramaniam Badrinath scoring a monumental 248. Baba Aparajith made 118 as Tamil Nadu put up a huge score to ensure themselves of at least the first-innings lead if not an outright win.