Mumbai: Shreyas Iyer slammed 11 sixes and 17 fours in a blistering knock of 178 and put on a double century stand with skipper Siddhesh Lad, who made a responsible 130, to power Mumbai to an imposing score of 439 for 8 against Baroda in Mumbai on Friday.
Iyer, who landed in Mumbai only on Thursday from New Zealand after a stint with India A, was in punishing form, sparing no one from the visitors' ranks to compile his 12th first-class hundred in his first Ranji game of the season as he rescued the hosts from 28 for 2 with a stand of 283 in just over 45 overs with Lad on day one of the elite Group A game.
Hardik Pandya, back in competitive cricket after recovering from a back spasm that he suffered in the Asia Cup in UAE in September, had opened the bowling and rocked Mumbai with a two-wicket haul for 21 in his impressive comeback spell of six overs after Mumbai were put in to bat at the Wankhede Stadium.
Pandya's cheap dismissals of openers Aditya Tare and newcomer Vikrant Auti had no effect on Iyer, who went on a run-scoring spree to take the wind out of Baroda's sails and place Mumbai, who are languishing at 16th out of 18 spots on the points table, in a commanding position at stumps.
Iyer smacked left arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt for four sixes in three balls to race to his century in 86 balls and then singled out veteran Yusuf Pathan for similar punishment by carting the off-break bowler for three successive sixes. A more sedate Lad, who faced 173 balls and struck two sixes and 12 fours, denied Baroda a wicket for more than four hours spread over the first two sessions.
Pathan got his revenge by having Iyer caught at wide mid-wicket by Vishnu Solanki to end the third wicket stand but by then the visitors' bowlers had been sent on a leather hunt by the Mumbai duo.
Mumbai, 148 for 2 at lunch, advanced to 333 for three at tea thanks to the belligerent knock of Iyer, and then Baroda grabbed five more wickets before stumps with Pandya snapping up one more victim, in-form all rounder Shivam Dubey, to finish with end of day impressive figures of 3 for 74 in 15 overs.
Bhatt picked up four wickets while Pathan was the other successful bowler.
Meanwhile, at Surat, despite skipper Priyank Panchal's 94, Gujarat were bowled out for 216 against Karnataka. For the visitors, Vinay Kumar, Prateek Jain, Ronit More, Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal picked two wickets each.
At New Delhi, Vidarbha reached 243 for 6 against Railways with skipper Faiz Fazal top-scoring with 53.
And at Nashik, Saurashtra batsmen hammered a listless Maharashtra attack to end the opening day at 269/3.
At Mumbai: Mumbai 439 for 8 (Siddhesh Lad 130, Shreyas Iyer 178, Shubham Ranjane 42, Shivam Dube 37; Hardik Pandya 3-74, Bhargav Bhatt 4-68) versus Baroda.
At Surat: Gujarat 216 all out (Priyank Panchal 74, Piyush Chawla 34, Shreyas Gopal 2-21) versus Karnataka 45 for 2. Karnataka trail by 171 runs.
At New Delhi (Karnail Singh Stadium): Vidarbha 243 for 6 (Faiz Fazal 53, A W Wadkar 48, Avinash Yadav 3-69) versus Railways.
At Nashik: Saurashtra 269/3 (Vishvarajsinh Jadeja 97, Snell Patel 84, Anup Sanklecha 2-84) versus Maharashtra.
Manpreet Gony stars with five-wicket haul as TN stutters to 213/9
Mohali: All-rounder Vijay Shankar stood tall among the ruins with a knock of 71 as Tamil Nadu struggled to 213 for 9 against Punjab on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'B' match at Mohali on Friday.
Sent in to bat by the hosts, the Tamil Nadu openers were given a stern test by pacers Manpreet Gony, Sandeep Sharma and Baltej Singh, who made good use of the conditions.
Gony bowled superbly to finish with figures of 5 for 56 to leave the visiting side in danger of being bowled out for a below-par total. He made use of the favourable conditions to trouble most of the batsmen and was rewarded with wickets.
Left-hander Abhinav Mukund had a harrowing time at the crease before edging one to wicket-keeper Abhishek Gupta for 5 (31 balls).
N Jagadeesan, pushed up to open the innings as M Kaushik Gandhi was dropped, tried to hit his way out of trouble, but was trapped LBW by Baltej for 19 (42 balls) in the 15th over, to leave Tamil Nadu tottering at 31 for 3.
Baltej struck two balls later, castling the in-form Tamil Nadu captain Baba Indrajith for duck, sending the stumps flying.
The experienced Dinesh Karthik (26) joined Baba Aparajith in the middle and the two looked to repair the damage. They did succeed in their attempt to a certain extent before Karthik was castled by Baltej.
With the score on 111, Aparajith was unlucky to see a defensive shot bounce back and roll on to the stumps even as he looked on.
Shankar, who shone for India 'A' in the recent series in New Zealand, played confidently and ran judiciously. He also played several handsome shots on both sides of the wicket and hit seven fours.
Shankar and the young M Shahrukh Khan (19) put on 44 runs before M Mohammed (27) helped the former add 58 important runs for the eighth wicket.
Gony stunned Tamil Nadu with three quick blows in the 82nd and 84th overs, dismissing Shankar, Mohammed and K Vignesh (0).
Gony's strikes reduced the visitors to 213 for 9 after appearing to have recovered from the early losses.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 213 for 9 in 84 overs (Vijay Shankar 71, M Mohammed 27, Dinesh Karthik 26, Manpreet Gony 5 for 56) vs Punjab.
At Hyderabad: Bengal 99 for 2 in 38 overs (Abbimanyu Easwaran 57 batting) vs Hyderabad.
At Amtar: Andhra 173 all out in 54.3 overs (Jyothisaikrishna 74,P P Jaiswal 5 for 50) vs Himachal Pradesh 51 for 1 in 21 overs (P P Chopra 32 batting).
Kerala recover after Shivam Sharma's four wickets for Delhi
Thiruvananthapuram: Half-centuries by Jalaj Saxena (68) and Vinoop Sheela Manoharan (77) helped Kerala recover from 155 for six to 291 for seven at stumps against Delhi on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'B' match at Thiruvananthapuram.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, the hosts suffered an early blow when opener VA Jagadeesh was bowled by Akash Sudan for a duck. The second-wicket partnership didn't last long as No 3 batsman Vatsal (4) edged a delivery from Vikas Mishra to 'keeper Anuj Rawat to leave Kerala at 17 for two.
Sanju Samson looked good during his knock of 24 before falling to off-spinner Shivam Sharma in the 22nd over, and he struck again in the same over to send captain Sachin Baby back before he could even open his account.
Opener P Rahul (77), however, held firm and added 51 runs for the fifth wicket with Vishnu Vinod (24) to stabilise the innings.
At lunch, Kerala were 109 for four, and lost Vinod (24) to Shivank Vasisth a little after resumption.
Rahul, who hit 10 fours and two sixes, was involved in a 46-run stand with Manoharan before being dismissed by Sharma (4 for 78).
Saxena and Manoharan played cautiously initially before going on to play some handsome shots.
The experienced Saxena showed a lot of intent and made 68 off 113 balls before falling to Sharma in the final over of the day, handing back the advantage to Delhi.
Manoharan, meanwhile, played a patient knock to help Kerala recover from a spot of bother to a respectable score.
Sharma was the best performer for Delhi, beginning life in the post-Gautam Gambhir era, with a good spell that saw him get the key wickets of Samson, Baby and Saxena.
Kerala made two changes, handing Vatsal a debut in place of K B Arun Karthick and Vinoop Manoharan for Akshay Chandran.
Brief scores: Kerala 291 for 7 in 89.3 overs (Jalaj Saxena 68, Vinoop Sheela Manoharan 77 batting, P Rahul 77, Shivam Sharma 4 for 78) vs Kerala.
Odisha bundle Rajasthan out for 135
Bhubaneswar: Odisha bowlers produced a spirited show as they bowled out Rajasthan for a meagre 135 on the opening day of their Elite Group C encounter at Bhubaneswar on Friday.
For Odisha, the Mohanty duo -- Basant and Rajesh -- both right-arm pacers -- did the job as they shared nine wickets among them.
Basant returned with exceptional figures of 6-20 and was ably supported by Rajesh (3-63) as Rajasthan batters had a horrid time at the Vikash cricket ground here.
Rajasthan openers Amitkumar Gautam (0) and Chetan Bist (0) fell in quick succession. For them, only skipper Mahipal Lomror (85) played a valiant knock to ensure that the side crossed the 100-run mark.
Lomror, who was the last man to be dismissed, struck 14 fours and a six, as he waged a lone battle.
But Lomror was devoid of partners at the other hand as the Rajasthan middle order collapsed. Rahul Chahar (18) played a handy knock to support his skipper, but clearly the day belonged to Odisha bowlers.
In reply, Odisha lost four wickets and were 78/4 at close of play, still adrift by 57 runs. Debasish Samantray (30 not out) and Abhishek Raut (22 not out) are holding the fort.
Meanwhile, in Agartala Pratyush Singh-led Tripura's fightback as the hosts reached to 247/7 at stumps on day 1. They were 128/6 at one stage.
At Lucknow, Ishank Jaggi (76 not out) and all-rounder Shahbaz Nadeem (70 not out) took Jharkhand to a respectable 278/6 after the side were teetering at 157/6 against Uttar Pradesh.
At Bhubaneswar: Rajasthan 135 all out (Mahipal Lomror 85, Rahul Chahar 18, Basant Mohanty 6-20, Rajesh Mohanty 3-63) versus Odisha 78/4 (Debasish Samantray 30 not out, T M Haq 2-8). Odisha trail by 57 runs.
At Agartala: Tripura 247/7 (Pratyush Singh 98 not out, Nirupam Chowdhary 44, Amit Verma 3-56) versus Goa.
At New Delhi (Air Force Complex Ground Palam): Assam 190/7 (Amit Sinha 51 not out, Gokul Sharma 49, Sachidanand Pandey 3-65) versus Services.
At Lucknow: Jharkhand 278/6 (Ishank Jaggi 76 not out, Shahbaz Nadeem 70 not out, Dhruv Pratap Singh 4-76) versus Uttar Pradesh.
At Rohtak: Jammu and Kashmir 161 (Obaid Haroon 26, Ian Chauhan 23, A K Chahal 3-31) versus Haryana 129/5 (R P Sharma 41, Himanshu Rana 29, Umar Nazir 4-43). Haryana trail by 32 runs.
Ahmed stars as 22 wickets tumble
Goalpara, Assam: Puducherry's Fabid Ahmed hogged the limelight with an all-round show on a day 22 wickets tumbled in their Ranji Trophy Plate Group match against Arunchal Pradesh here.
The Kerala recruit top-scored with an unbeaten 41 before Puducherry were bundled out for 136 after Arunachal Pradesh opted to bowl at the DN Singha Stadium.
Ahmed then foxed the Arunchal Pradesh batsmen with his off-spin on way to career-best figures of 6/29.
Former India pacer Pankaj Singh (3/20) also chipped in with crucial breakthroughs as Arunchal Pradesh folded for 82 at their adopted home venue.
Under fading lights, Arunachal Pradesh's Upadhyal Deendyal dismissed both the openers for a total of 22 wickets on the day.
At stumps on day one, Puducherry were 28/2, leading by 82 runs.
In Shillong, left-arm spinner Ashutosh Aman starred for Bihar, returning with a career-best 8/51, as hosts Meghalaya were skittled out for 125 at their home ground.
Opener Raj Biswa provided some resistance with a fighting 56 from 105 balls (4x4, 3x6) before being trapped by Aman.
Bihar were 80/2 at close, trailing Meghayala by 45 runs.
Uttarakhand pacer Deepak Dhapola (5/49) claimed his sixth five-wicket haul in five matches to help his side bundle out Nagaland for 207 in Dehradun.
Eyeing a sixth win on the trot, the Plate group leaders were on 73/2, trailing by 134 runs.
In Dehradun: Nagaland 207; 59.4 overs (Rongsen Jonathan 69, KB Pawan 46; Deepak Dhapola 5/49, Sunny Rana 3/43). Uttarakhand 73/2; 23.2 overs (KV Kaushal 48, Vineet Saxena 20 batting; Pawan Suyal 2/38).
In Goalpara: Puducherry 136; 35.5 overs (Fabid Ahmed 41 not out; Upadhay Deendyal 4/36, Techi Neri 3/28, Techi Doria 2/32) and 28/2; 12 overs. Arunachal Pradesh 82; 35.5 overs (Ahmed 6/29, Pankaj Singh 3/20).
In Jorhat: Sikkim 321/9; 88 overs (Milind Kumar 139, Bipul Sharma 50; Sinan Khadir 3/74, G Lalbiakvela 2/74, Akhil Rajput 2/36) vs Mizoram.
In Shillong: Meghalaya 125; 52.5 overs (Raj Biswa 56; Ashutosh Aman 8/51) vs Bihar 80/2; 31 overs (Babul Kumar 43 batting).