Yashpal Singh played a resolute innings of 87 that came off 168 balls and was studded with 15 hits. (PTI Photo)
Yashpal Singh made an unbeaten half-century to lift Services to 245 for five in their first innings in reply to Tamil Nadu's 456 for seven declared at the end of third and penultimate day's play in a Ranji Trophy Group B match on Tuesday.
Yashpal played a resolute innings of 87 that came off 168 balls and was studded with 15 hits to the fence to keep Services' in the hunt in the final day of the tie on Wednesday.
Apart from Yashpal, skipper Soumik Chatterjee scored 47 and Anshul Gupta made 37.
At stumps on Day 3, Services still trail Tamil Nadu by 211 runs with five wickets in hand.
Resuming at the overnight score 17 for no loss, Services lost opener Pratik Desai for 19.
Chatterjee and Gupta added 62 runs for the second wicket before off-spinner Malolan Rangarajan (2 for 46) accounted for two quick wickets to reduce Services to 98 for three in 43.2 overs.
While Gupta was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Rangarajan, new man in Vishnu Tiwari fell LBW to the off-spinner in his next over.
Chatterjee and Yashpal steadied the ship, adding 61 runs for the fourth wicket before the skipper was dismissed three runs short of his half century.
Next in, Rajat Paliwal (5) too departed without contributing much. It was then left to Yashpal and wicketkeeper Sarabjit Singh (13 not out) to dig Services out of trouble and the duo managed to keep the hosts in the fray with an unbeaten 54-run sixth wicket partnership.
Tamil Nadu: 456 for seven decl in 167 overs (Baba Aparajith 203, Subramaniam Badrinath 81, Ramaswamy Prasanna 74 not out; Suraj Yadav 2 for 63). Services: 245 for five in 101 overs (Yashpal Singh 87 not out, Soumik Chatterjee 47; Malolan Rangarajan 2 for 46).
Saurashtra spinners sparkle against Rajasthan
A fine display by spinners put Saurashtra in a commanding position as they enforced a follow-on on Rajasthan.
After declaring their first innings at the overnight total of 475 for seven, Saurashtra bundled out the visitors for a paltry 136 in just 43.1 overs in their first essay on the penultimate day of the four-day match.
At the close of play, Rajasthan were struggling at 147 for four in their second innings, still needing 192 runs with six wickets remaining.
The spin trio of Dharmendra Jadeja, Vishal Joshi and Kamlesh Makwana ran through Rajasthan's first innings before tightening their grip over the match by third day's end.
Saurashtra spinners made good use of the turning track and tormented the Rajasthan batsmen, who could never settle down.
It was debutant seamer Abhishek Bhatt, who gave the first breakthrough to the hosts when he trapped S Chauhan (0) in front of the wicket. The three spinners then got into action and took wickets at regular intervals.
Robin Bist (29) and Ashok Menaria (26) put some resistance in the first innings, but both were sent back in quick succession by Makwana, cutting short any hope of a fightback.
Makwana, Jadeja and Joshi took three wickets each. Chauhan and Vineet Saxena gave the visitors a much better start in the second essay as they put on 55 runs for the opening wicket. Chauhan made only 8 but gave good support to Saxena, who looked comfortable against spinners.
Saxena made 106-ball 70, hitting 11 fours and a six. He added 74 runs for the second wicket with Bist, who made 38. Captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar was batting on 14 and giving him company was Rajesh Bishnoi (2) at the end of day three. Legspinner Jadeja was the most successful bowler for Saurashtra in the second innings, taking three for 51.
Saurashtra 1st innings: 475 for 7 decl. Rajasthan 1st inngs: 136 (Robin Bist 29; Kamlesh Makwana 3 for 30, Dharmendra Jadeja 3 for 39, Vishal Joshi 3 for 51) & 147 for 4 (Vineet Saxena 70; Dharmendra Jadeja 3 for 51).
Pandey's seven-wicket haul puts MP on top
Indore: Madhya Pradesh medium-pacer Ishwar Pandey grabbed seven wickets for 84 to steal the limelight from Railways centurions Shivakant Shukla (113) and Mahesh Rawat (103) on the third day, as the home side were certain to take a huge first-innings lead in their Ranji Trophy match.
Propelled by centuries from captain and opener Shukla and wicketkeeper Rawat, and their 118-run fifth-wicket stand, Railways ended the day at 335 for 9.
Railways were at a comfortable 249 for 4 at one stage, but Shukla's dismissal off Pandey in the 73rd over triggered a collapse, as the visiting team lost all but one of their remaining wickets, for just 57 runs.
Shukla's 113 included 16 fours and a six, while Rawat smashed 13 fours and three sixes during his 103. Railways still trail by 175 runs with just one first innings wicket in hand.
Madhya Pradesh: 510 for 6 (decl) vs Railways: 335 for 9 in 104 overs (Shivakant Shukla 113, and Mahesh Rawat 103; Ishwar Pandey 7/84).
Sun shines brightly but Eden not fit for play for Ranji match
For the third consecutive day, the match between hosts Bengal and Baroda was called off as the umpires found the Eden Gardens not suitable for play. The rain had stopped since Sunday and there were two full bright and sunny days but the match still could not get started.
There were all eyes on the match as the same pitch would be used for the opening Test between India and the West Indies in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series. But with the umpires calling off the proceedings for a third consecutive day, a question mark on the efficiency has cropped up ahead of the high-profile Test.