A round-up of the third day of the first round of matches in the Ranji Trophy Elite 2011-12.
An unbeaten double-century from Suresh Raina put Uttar Pradesh in charge against Punjab, at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground. Raina's effort was well-supported by Parvinder Singh, who equalled his best first-class score: 138. UP had begun day three on 221 for 3, with Raina and Parvinder at the crease. The pair both scored at a commendable rate and went on to add 241 for the fourth wicket. Parvinder was snagged by part-timer Karan Goel, and Manpreet Gony got Arish Alam to edge behind not long after with UP only 100 ahead, but another big stand followed.
Piyush Chawla smacked 73 not out off 67 balls as his side looked for quick runs, and put on 146 at almost six an over with Raina. The declaration came soon after Raina went past 200 and his previous top score to finish with 204 at a rate of 71.32. Trailing by 246, Punjab lost two quick wickets ahead of stumps, to finish 26 for 2. Raina's hundred will put pressure on Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli to perform against West Indies in the Test that begins tomorrow, should they be picked in the XI.
Karnataka took control of their match against Rajasthan at the Field Club Ground, after their bowlers struck regularly to keep Rajasthan to 255. After Karnataka piled up a mammoth 623 for 6 in their first innings, Rajasthan needed their batsmen to build long innings after getting set. But none of them managed to do that - Ashok Menaria (who consistently churned out the big scores for Rajasthan during the knockout stages last season), Robin Bist and Rohit Jhalani all got to 45, but none of them could not manage more than Menaria's 57.
While new-ball bowlers Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun knocked over the top and middle order, taking five wickets between them, left-arm spinner K Appanna cleaned up the tail to finish with 4 for 35. With Rajasthan still trailing by 368, Vinay enforced the follow-on. The opening batsmen's cautious approach - they scored at less than two runs an over - worked, as they safely saw off the 27 overs before stumps, finishing with 51 for 0.
Orissa adopted a very cautious approach against Saurashtra at the Barabati Stadium, edging from 51 for no loss to 246 for 4 in a full-day's play. Opener Natraj Behera scored most of the 195 runs they managed off 90 overs, carrying his bat through the day and completing his second first-class hundred in the process.
Bikas Pati and Biplab Samantray afforded Natraj Behera some support, getting past 40, but neither could hang around long enough to threaten Saurashtra's first-innings' score of 545. In the final session, Natraj Behera found another reliable partner in Abhilash Mallick, who finished not out on 35. But Orissa will need both players to bat out as much of the final day as possible to have any chance of securing a draw. Natraj Behera is one short of his best first-class score, 113.
Mumbai's spinners, Ramesh Powar and Ankeet Chavan combined to bowl out Railways for 256 at the Karnail Singh Stadium, after which Wasim Jaffer enforced the follow on. Railways had resumed on 66 for 3 and their captain, Sanjay Bangar, made a patient 89. But no one else could get a half-century, as Powar and Chavan picked up three wickets apiece. That meant Railways folded still 227 runs behind Mumbai.
They began their second innings in better fashion though, going to stumps 121 for 2, trailing by 106. They lost Shreyas Khanolkar cheaply, but their other opener, Shivakant Shukla who is in his debut season with Railways after transferring from UP, held firm. He put on 89 with Faiz Fazal, before part-timer Suryakumar Yadav had Fazal edging behind just prior to stumps. Shukla finished unbeaten on 64.
Hundreds from Parthiv Patel and Priyank Panchal carried Gujarat to 315 for 2 in response to Bengal's 560 at Eden Gardens. The pair began the day with the score on 10 for no loss, and went on to string together a 284-run partnership. Parthiv Patel's runs came at a good clip: he hit 143 at 70.79 with 18 fours. Panchal's 139 was his best first-class score and, though a bit slower, included 19 boundaries - 16 fours and three sixes.
However, Bengal's spinners - Iresh Saxena and Saurasish Lahiri - removed the pair in the final session, as Gujarat went to stumps 245 runs in the deficit. The hundred could boost Parthiv's chances of a Test comeback, as the reserve opener, during the much-anticipated Australia tour that kicks off at the end of the year.
Debutant Milind Kumar and Rajat Bhatia went on to complete centuries on the third day at Roshanara Club Ground, to give Delhi the first-innings' lead against Haryana, despite a collapse. Milind fell for 119 soon after the partnership had crossed the 150-run mark. Puneet Bisht could not get going, but Pawan Negi settled in. His 41-run stand with Bhatia looked promising when Bhatia was cleaned up by Amit Vashisht for 107.
That triggered a collapse in which Delhi went from 318 for 5 to 352 all out, with a 59-run lead. The bowlers shared the wickets around. Haryana lost their captain Rahul Dewan early, before a half-century stand between Nitin Saini and Sunny Singh helped wipe out the deficit. However, Bhatia struck late in the day, effectively reducing Haryana to 35 for 2.
There was no play possible in the Tamil Nadu v Baroda match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium due to rain, for the third day running.