Veteran batsman Wasim Jaffer slammed a double hundred as holders Vidarbha grabbed a massive 204-run first innings lead against Uttarakhand on the third day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match here Thursday.
With Vidarbha's first innings yet to be completed and only two days left in the match, the hosts are all set to enter the semi-final of the coveted domestic tournament after ending the day 3 at an imposing 559 for 6.
At 260 for 1, opener Sanjay Ramaswamy (141) and Wasim Jaffer (206) resumed the innings this morning after coming together Wednesday.
The two stitched a massive 304-run second wicket stand at the Vidarbha Cricket Association's Stadium at Jamtha near here to completely demoralise the visiting team, playing in the Ranji Trophy for the first time.
Ramaswamy, overnight unbeaten on 112, could add only 29 runs to his tally and was dismissed on 141.
He hit 20 fours in his 278-ball stat at the crease.
But Ramaswamy's departure did not deter 40-year-old Jaffer, who kept playing his shots and in the process completed his ninth First Class double hundred, and second for Vidarbha.
Age is just proving to be a number for Jaffer, who was the cynosure of all eyes, hitting 26 boundaries in his 296- ball stay at the crease.
Wicket-keeper Akshay Wadkar (98) and Aditya Sarvate (57 not out) then continued to frustrate the opposition bowlers.
Wadkar, who struck 14 boundaries in his 167-ball innings, missed a deserving century.
Sarvate and Akshay Wakhare (3 not out) were the unbeaten duo for the hosts at stumps.
Brief scores: Uttarakhand 355 versus Vidarbha 559/6 (Wasim Jaffer 206, Sanjay Ramaswamy 141, A Wadkar 98; D K Sharma 2-87).
Karnataka lose 3 wickets in chase of 184
Spinners Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal shared seven wickets between them as Karnataka bundled out Rajasthan for 222 to set themselves a 184-run target for a place in the Ranji Trophy semifinals, here Thursday.
The visitors resumed at 11 for no loss with openers Amit Kumar Gautam (24) and Chetan Bist (33) spending considerable time at the crease before Abhimnayu Mithun broke the partnership by dismissing the former.
The following batsmen got starts with skipper Mahipal Lomror (42) and Robin Bist (44) batting with determination but once the top four batsmen were dismissed the visitors innings fell apart.
Rajasthan lost last six wickets for 99 runs as they were clueless against Gowtham and Gopal. Salman Khan, batting at number six, added a crucial 25 off 62 balls.
Off-spinner Gowtham (4/54) snared four batsmen while leg-break bowler Gopal scalped (3/52) three. Mithun picked up two wickets after conceding 26 runs.
Rajasthan had scored 224 in their first innings with the help of Lomrov (50) and Rajesh Bishnoi (79).
Chasing the target, Karnataka were 45 for three in 18 overs at stumps, with Test discard Karun Nair and Ronit More, batting on 18 and five.
Aniket Choudhary rocked the the host top-order by sending back inform batsmen, Dega Nischal (1) and Krishnamurthy Siddharth (5).
Aniket first cleaned up Nischal and then had Siddharth caught by Chetan Bist, giving a rollicking start to Rajasthan as Karnataka were reduced to 14 for 2 in sixth over.
Other Ravikumar Samarth (16) too did not last long as he was trapped leg before by Lomror.
Karnataka first innings: 263 and 45/3 in 18 overs (Karun Nair 18 not out; Aniket Choudhary 2/9)
Rajasthan first innings: 224 and 222 in 67.2 overs (Robin Bist 44, Mahipal Lomror 42; Krishnappa Gowtham 4/54, Shreyas Gopal 3/52, Abimanyu Mithun 2/26).
Kerala makes maiden semifinal entry
Scripting history, Kerala stormed into the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy for the first time with a 113-run win over Gujarat on the third day of the quarterfinal here Thursday.
This is the first time that the Kerala team has entered the last four stage of the prestigious tournament in over five decades. In the last season, the state made its maiden entry into the quarterfinal, but lost to Vidharbha.
Requiring 195 to win the match, Gujarat was shot out for 81 in 31.3 overs as Basil Thampi (5 for 27) and Sandeep Warrier (4 for 30) wrecked the strong rival batting line-up.
Gujarat didn't have the best start, losing opener Kathan D Patel in the sixth over.
Patel was bowled by Thampi, who struck a big blow in the last ball of the same over, trapping the prolific Priyank Panchal (3) to leave the visitors at 10 for 2.
Left-hander Rahul Shah was the only batsman to offer resistance with a fighting knock of 33 not out (70 balls, 4X4).
Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel, probably the biggest threat for Kerala, was run out for a duck, by his opposite number (Sachin Baby).
Dhruv Raval (17) was the only Gujarat batsman other than Rahul Shah to get into double figures as the visiting side struggled on a pitch with variable bounce.
The fifth-wicket partnership of 39 between Rahul Shah and Raval was the highest of the Gujarat second innings as the rest of the batting line-up struggled against the impressive Thampi and Warrier.
Thampi, who was named man of the match and Warrier finished with eight wickets each.
Brief scores: Kerala 185 and 171 all out (Sijomon Joseph 56, Jalaj Saxena 44 not out, Roosh Kalaria 3 for 36, Axar Patel 3 for 40) beat Gujarat 162 all out (Parthiv Patel 43, R Kalaria 36, Sandeep Warrier 4 for 42, M D Nidheesh 3 for 38, Basil Thampi 3 for 61) and 81 all out in 31.3 overs (Rahul Shah 33 not out, Basil Thampi 5 for 27, Sandeep Warrier 4 for 30).
UP firm favourites vs Saurashtra after consolidating lead to 349
Uttar Pradesh batsmen fluffed their lines in the second essay but their first innings performance put them in box seat with lead swelling to 349 against Saurashtra at the end of the third day's play in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals.
Having scored 385 in their first innings, Uttar Pradesh removed 'Man of the Moment' Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply on the second day and mopped the tail on the third morning for 208 to take a substantial 177 run lead.
Seamer Ankit Rajpoot (3/71), left-arm medium pacer Yash Dayal (4/55) and fast bowler Shivam Mavi (3/40) shared the spoils at the Ekana Stadium.
The second innings however didn't go as per plan with UP finishing third day's play at 172 for 8 but the overall lead will give them a lot of confidence despite the presence of Pujara in the opposition ranks.
Mohammed Saif's 48 was the top-score while first innings hero Rinku Singh was out without troubling the scorers.
Left-arm spinner Dharmendra Jadeja (4/53) and left-arm military medium Chetan Sakariya (3/29) did bulk of the damage while veteran off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana picked up the other wicket.
A target of 350 plus in the fourth innings will be a challenge but with Pujara in the Saurashtra ranks, Uttar Pradesh are likely to have their guard up till the dismiss hero of India's Test series win in Australia.
Brief Scores: UP 385 and 172/8 (Mohd Saif 48, Dharmendra Jadeja 4/53).
Saurashtra 208 (Cheteshwar Pujara 11, Harvik Desai 84, Shivam Mavi 3/40).
UP ahead by 349 runs.