Wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and captain Devendra Bundela cracked hundreds each to help Madhya Pradesh take the crucial first innings lead over Mumbai on day three of their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket tie in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Ojha, who was the reserve wicketkeeper in the opening India-Australia Test at Adelaide when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unavailable, slammed a superb 155 studded with 19 fours and a six, while veteran Bundela made 115 laced with 14 fours and a six.
The fourth wicket duo, which joined forces on Tuesday after tea, frustrated the Mumbai attack with a massive stand of 258 off 478 balls to put MP well on way to overhaul the hosts’ first innings total of 404.
Thanks to the pair’s solid batting followed by a quickfire 67 with 10 fours and a six by Harpreet Singh Bhatia, MP ended the penultimate day at a commanding 538 for seven, an overall lead of 134 runs over the 40-time champions.
At stumps, Ankit Sharma (35) and Puneet Datey (16) were the unconquered batsmen, as the visiting team ensured themselves of at least the first innings points.
Starting the day at 221 for three, the fourth wicket combo kept its wicket intact as MP reached 312 for three at lunch with Ojha having completed his 18th first class century by then.
Bundela followed suit after the break when he reached his ton in 233 balls against a pedestrian Mumbai attack that lacked the requisite penetration on the placid track.
Ujjain-born Ojha was caught at slip by rival skipper Suryakumar Yadav off Javed Khan’s bowling.
Bundela and next batsman Harpreet Singh carried MP’s score past the hosts’ total before the visiting captain departed off the bowling of left arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah.
Harpreet then marshalled the lower order to take the score past 500. But he got out, just eight overs before the close of play.
Brief scores: Mumbai 404. Madhya Pradesh: 538 for seven in 162 overs (Naman Ojha155, Devendra Bundela 115, Iqbal Abdullah 3/123)
Abhimanyu puts Bengal in command against TN
Youngster Abhimanyu Easwaran showed the way with a majestic 150 against Tamil Nadu to take bottom-placed Bengal in sight of their first outright win this season in the Ranji Trophy group A cricket fixture in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The frail-looking 19-year-old, who idolises Rahul Dravid, showed solid temperament required at this level as he stood tall in a marathon undefeated innings spanning seven hours and seven minutes, and was unnerved even as his senior partner Manoj Tiwary missed a century by three runs in Bengal’s imposing first innings total of 454/9 after Tamil Nadu made 246.
Having virtually reduced to 10 batsmen with Wednesday’s injury blow to skipper R Prasanna, Tamil Nadu were in dire straits at 80/1 when stumps were called on day three, still 128 in arrears as Bengal would be eyeing a bonus point.
Ashok Dinda looked intimidating and removed TN’s reliable opener and leading run-getter Abinav Mukund (33) in the fag-end of the day as K Bharath Shankar (38 batting) was at the crease with nightwatchman R Aushik Srinivas (1*).
Brief Scores: Tamil Nadu 246/9 and 80/1; 20 overs (K Bharath Shankar 38 batting)
Bengal 454/9 declared; 121 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 150 not out, Manoj Tiwary 97, Saurasish Lahiri 43; T Natarajan 3/92).
Karnataka bowlers lead side to big win over J&K
Ian Dev Singh fought gallantly with his 94-run knock but other batsmen went without resistance as Karnataka spanked Jammu and Kashmir by an innings and 30 runs on the third day of their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match in Hubli.
Resuming at 36 for one, Jammu and Kashmir team was all out for 233 as their middle order crumbled against Karanatka, which had declared its first innings at 423 for nine.
The fast bowling trio of R Vinay Kumar (3/52), Abhimanyu Mithun (3/55), and Sreenath Arvind (3/48) rocked the J&K batting line up to help Karnataka walk away with seven points from the contest.
Jammu and Kashmir 160 and 233 in 66.2 overs.(Ian Dev 94; Adil reshi 36; Sreenath Arvind 3/48, R Vinay Kumar 3/52).
Baroda eye outright win, courtesy Yusuf Pathan’s bowling
Yusuf Pathan sizzled with his part-time spin and picked up six wickets to take Baroda within sniffing distance of an outright win against Uttar Pradesh on the third and penultimate day of a Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match in Lucknow on Wednesday.
Yusuf (6/67) exploits with the ball enabled Baroda to bundle out UP for 223 in 88.1 overs in their first innings and enforce follow-on on the hosts.
At stumps, UP were 122 for three in their second innings while following on and still need to score 153 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Umang Sharma was unbeaten 57, while giving him company was Arish Alam on 15.
Brief Scores: Baroda: 498 all out in 142 overs.
UP: 223 & 122 for three in 30 overs (Umang Sharma 57 not out; Swapnil Singh 2/31).