Prashant’s triple delight
Opener Prashant Chopra celebrated his birthday in grand style by hitting the first triple hundred of the current first-class season as Himachal Pradesh piled up a massive 729 for 8 declared against Punjab on the second day of the Ranji Trophy group D encounter at Dharamshala.
At stumps, Punjab were 110 for 1 with Jiwanjot Singh unbeaten on 34 in company of Uday Kaul (2 batting). Opener Pargat Singh scored an attacking 64 off 69 balls before being dismissed.
The match however belong to Chopra, who had scored in excess of 900 runs last season and was recently a part of the India A team.
Chopra, started the day at 271 and went onto score 338 off only 363 balls with as many as 44 boundaries and two sixes to his credit.
Finally, it was off-break bowler Pargat, who ended Chopra's incredible effort by taking a return catch.
With the Punjab attack sans their skipper Harbhajan Singh in real tatters, Ankush Bains (80), Rishi Dhawan (49) also feasted on the bowling to ensure that they pile up a gigantic score.
Himachal Pradesh 729/8 dec(Prashant Chopra 338, Paras Dogra 99). Punjab 110/1 (Pargat Singh 64)
Services steady in reply to Bengal’s mammoth total
In another group D match at the Palam Ground in Delhi,
Bengal declared their first innings at 552 for 9, with top three players Sudeep Chatterjee (115), skipper Manoj Tiwary (69) and Wriddhiman Saha (55) amongst runs.
In reply, Services were 103 for 1 at stumps on the second day with Mohammed Shami (1/33) getting the only wicket.
The highlight of the second day's play was Ashok Dinda's 25-ball-55 with eight boundaries and two sixes.
With Mohammed Shami (23), the final wicket yielded 77 runs for Bengal to take their score past 550 runs.
Before that, Amir Gani (51) added 76 runs with Kanishk Seth (30) for the eighth wicket.
Bengal 552/9 decl (Sudeep Chatterjee 115, Manoj Tiwary 69, Wriddhiman Saha 55). Services 103/1.
Other Group D matches:
Chattisgarh 458 all out (Manoj Singh 125, Mohammed Kaif 61, Jatin Saxena 82). Goa 28/0.
Gambhir, Rana hit tons after Ishant’s fifer
Gautam Gambhir started his new season in the right earnest with a patient century as Delhi made a pedestrian Assam attack toil by reaching 269/4 at stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy group A encounter in New Delhi.
Courtesy Gambhir's 40th first class hundred (136 batting, 245 balls) and his 207-run third-wicket stand with another centurion Nitish Rana (110, 158 balls), Delhi are in the driver's seat with an aim to log home full points.
This was after Assam were all out for 258, starting the day at 224 for 7 with skipper Ishant Sharma returning with best figures of 5 for 38 in 20 overs.
When Delhi started batting, it was yet another failure for Unmukt Chand (6), who was trapped leg before by right-arm medium pacer Krishna Das.
Dhruv Shorey's (1) stumps went for a walk off an Abu Nechim delivery.
However, Gambhir looked assured from the word go as he played some flowing off and cover drives. In all, he hit 21 boundaries.
When spinners were brought in, he showed his mastery with nimble footwork reaching to the pitch of the deliveries whenever Rahul Singh and Sarupam Purkayastha dropped short.
Young left-hander Rana, who had also hit a hundred against Assam last year, hit more boundaries square of the wicket.
Gambhir reached his hundred with two lofted boundaries off left-arm spinner Rahul Singh.
There was no celebration from the veteran southpaw, who was a picture of concentration. The best shot was a copybook straight drive off Krishna's bowling.
Brief Scores: Assam 258 all out in 95 overs (Sarupam Purakayastha 66, Gokul Sharma 51, Ishant Sharma 5/38) Delhi 269/4 (Gautam Gambhir 136 no, Nitish Rana 110, Abu Nechim Ahmed 3/39).
Other Group A matches:
Railways vs Uttar Pradesh:
Railways 1st Innings: 182 all out. Uttar Pradesh 1st Innings: 250 all out (A Nath 75, RK Singh 42, A Singh 3/42). Railways 2nd innings: 27/3 in 14 overs.
Sumath, Hebbar hand Andhra vital lead against TN
Half-centuries by B Sumanth and Ashwin Hebbar gave Andhra Pradesh a crucial lead on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Group "C" encounter against Tamil Nadu at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Their knocks helped Andhra wrest the initiative against the star-studded hosts after having been 64 for 5 at one point to end the day at 231 for 7, a lead of 55.
Tamil Nadu had been dismissed for 176 in the first innings on Friday.
Resuming at the overnight score of eight without loss, the visiting side was in trouble almost immediately as opener D B Prashanth Kumar fell to L Vignesh.
K S Bharat and Ricky Bhui began the rescue act but after adding 28 runs before the latter was dismissed by the other Vignesh.
The experienced Y Venugopala Rao didn't last too long as he was caught by Rahil Shah off R Ashwin's bowling for just three.
When Ashwin had Bharat stumped by N Jagadeesan for 32, Andhra looked in trouble at 64 for 5.
Then came a vital moment in the game as M S Washington Sundar dropped Ashwin Hebbar (on 13) off Ashwin's bowling at deep mid-wicket.
The 21-year-old batsman made the most of the life he got and scored runs in an attractive manner.
From 95 for 5 at lunch, Sumanth, who showed great resolve to defy the bowling, took the fight to Tamil Nadu in Hebbar's company.
Sumanth didn't resume his knock after the tea interval owing to a hand injury, but Hebbar kept the scoreboard moving.
Shoaib Mohammed Khan provided valuable support and they took the total to 182 before Hebbar's knock ended. He was dismissed by K Vignesh for 64.
Bhargav Bhatt, the team's bowling hero yesterday, was caught behind off Washington Sundar's bowling.
Sumanth, who returned at the fall of Bhatt, took the team to the close without any further damage and swelled the lead to 55 runs.
For Tamil Nadu, K Vignesh, L Vignesh and Ashwin bagged two wickets each.
Test all-rounder Ashwin, who bowled 23 overs, looked dangerous in the first session but couldn't make much of an impression in the post-lunch period.
Brief scores (End of day 2): Group "C" Tamil Nadu 176 all out (Baba Aparajith 51, K Vignesh 25 not out, Bhargav Bhatt 4 for 52, Prithvi Raj Yarra 3 for 39) vs Andhra Pradesh 231 for 7 (B Sumanth 72 batting, Ashwin Hebbar 64, K S Bharat 32, K Vignesh 2 for 46, L Vignesh 2 for 36, R Ashwin 2 for 51) in Chennai.
Other Group C matches
Madhya Pradesh vs Baroda
Madhya Pradesh 551 for 8 declared in 164 overs (Devendra Bundela 99, Shubam Sharma 196, Ankit Sharma 104, Harpreet Singh Bhatia 32, A Sheth 2 for 90, Swapnil K Singh 3 for 136) vs Baroda 36 for 2 in 13 overs (Kedar Devdhar 20 batting) at Indore.
Tripura vs Odisha - Play on day two also washed out without a ball being bowled, at Cuttack.