Guwahati: Assam became the second team to claim seven points this season after they beat Tripura by ten wickets during the final session on day four. Though they were made to sweat in dismissing Tripura, whose last four wickets took the score from 93 for 6 to 366, Assam had little worries in knocking off a target of 62. With this win, Assam joined Jharkhand at the top of Group C with seven points each.
Former India wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra's 124 and admirable work from the lower order had averted an innings defeat but 62 was never going to challenge the hosts. In the morning session J Syed Mohammad, the left-arm spinner, snapped a 107-run seventh-wicket stand when got Manisankar Murasingh for 62 to leave Tripura 104 run from making the home team bat again. Ratra kept his adopted side afloat with a battling century and with Timir Chanda (58) put on 80 to keep Assam anxious. Chanda fell with the score 314 for 8 – effectively 9 for 8 – but Ratra found assistance from Rana Dutta (32*). Mohammad, on first-class debut, had figures of 4 for 83 from 37 overs.
With every possibility of bad light shaving off overs and an extra point up for grabs with they failed to lose a wicket, Assam were taken home with their openers taking quite different approaches. Pallavkumar Das hit 52 off 60 balls with nine fours while Amit Singh – after a duck at No. 3 in the first innings - made 3 off 34.
In Nadaun, Kerala staved off Himachal Pradesh for a hard-fought draw while in Anantapur Services took three points over Andhra.
Assam 450 and 62 for 0 in 15.2 overs (Pallavkumar Das 52*) beat Tripura 145 and 366 in 128.5 overs (Ajay Ratra 124, Manisankar Murasingh 62, Timir Chanda 58; J Syed Mohamamd 4/83) by 10 wickets
A fine century from Rohan Prem earned Kerala a draw and denied Himachal Pradesh four points as an engaging final day concluded at Nadaun. Prem’s unbeaten 104 spanned 301 minutes and 221 deliveries and his dogged partnerships of 99 in 42 overs with Robert Fernandez and 65 in 28 overs with Raiphi Gomez left the home side frustrated.
Having fallen behind by more than 300 runs, on Sunday Kerala were indebted to Prem, Fernandez and Gomes for hanging on for a draw. Kerala started the final day on 28 for 3, still 279 runs in arrears. Gurvinder Singh struck the first blow when he had opener VA Jagadeesh out for 36, and four runs later Mohinderraj Sharma picked up his third when the first-innings centurion Sanju Samson edged to Aakash Chopra for 30. At 92 for 5 Kerala were 215 adrift of making Himachal bat again and Chopra’s team looked set for an outright win.
But Prem and Fernandez stubbornly tried to ward off an innings defeat and in successful doubled their score from 92 for 5. Fernandez was bowled by debutant Prashant Chopra for a 122-ball 31, after which Gomez rose to the occasion with as stubborn 86-ball 15. Prem was not out on 104, his fifth first-class century.
Kerala 299 and 256 for 6 in 99 overs (Rohan Prem 104*) drew with Himachal Pradesh 536 for 6 in 158 overs
In the rain-interrupted match Anantapur, all interest ended when Services took the first-innings lead and with it three points by bowling Andhra out for 251. An eighth-wicket stand of 65 between K Sahabuddin (78*) and Vamshi Krishna and 31 for the final wicket had kept Andhra in the match as they chased 298 for three points, but the goal was left unattainable.
Starting overnight at 87 for 6, Andhra progressed watchfully. Hemal Watekar added 15 to his overnight 30 before falling to Muzzafaruddin Khalid, after which wicketkeeper Krishna joined Sahabuddin to keep Services at bay. T Atchuta Rao (22) and Rajesh Pawar (17) also batted well but it all proved too much for Andhra.
In the second innings, Services slipped to 5 for 2 before Ansuhl Gupta and Yashpal Singh took the score to 59 for 2.
Services 297 and 59 for 2 in 21 overs drew with Andhra 251 in 102.1 overs (K Sahabuddin 78*)