Rajkot: Saurashtra took a giant step towards qualifying for the final of the Ranji Trophy after they reduced Punjab to 294 for nine at stumps on day three of the semi-final here on Friday. Punjab trail Saurashtra, who scored 447 all out in the first innings, by 183 runs with just one wicket in hand.
Vishal Joshi was the pick of the bowlers, picking up four wickets and was well supported by medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who had figures of three for 52. Punjab were given a blistering start by their openers Jiwanjot Singh (68) and Inder Singh (74) after resuming the day on 41 for no loss. The pair added 128 runs for the first wicket befor Inder was sent packing by Joshi.
His opening partner didn't last too long either as he too was dismissed by Joshi. Mandeep Singh (20) and Taruwar Kohli (59) looked to have stabilised things but after the dismissal of the latter, the slide began for Punjab. Punjab at 195 for three still looked to be coasting but after Uday Kaul (31) was run out by Siddharth Trivedi, the visitors lost five wickets for 35 to put them on the backfoot.
Captain Harbhajan Singh (29) was still battling hard to save the game for his team when stumps were drawn. Meanwhile, in Delhi, the third day`s play of other semi-final between Mumbai and Services was called off without a ball being bowled due to heavy rain.
A hailstorm and heavy rain the previous night is also said to have damaged one of the two sightscreens. There was a steady downpour Friday, making it impossible for play to start. Mumbai in their first innings are on 380 for six with captain Ajit Agarkar (113) and Aditya Tare (108) unbeaten at the crease.
At Rajkot: Saurashtra 477 all out vs Punjab 294 for nine in 107 overs (Inder Singh 74, Jiwanjot Singh 68, Taruwar Kohli 59; Vishal Joshi 4/59, Jaydev Unadkat 3/52)
At Delhi: Mumbai 380 for six in 143 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 56, Abhishek Nayar 70, Ajit Agarkar 113 batting, Aditya Tare 108 batting; Suraj Yadav 2/49, Shadab Nazar 2/104) vs Services.