New Delhi: Rishabh Pant showed his natural flair for strokeplay with an attractive 99 in company of a reliable Nitish Rana (110 batting) as Delhi were comfortably placed 260/4 against Maharashtra on truncated first day of the fifth round encounter of the Ranji Trophy.
In all only 62 overs of play was possible after light deteriorated in the final session.
Pant, who has not had any significant contribution during the current season, did not get bogged down by the fall of wickets and his 99 off 110 balls had eight boundaries and six huge sixes.
Pant was finally snapped at slips by rival captain Ankit Bawne off Chirag Khurana but not before he entertained one and all at the Airforce ground with his exhilarating strokeplay. He was especially severe on off-break bowler Khurana, whom he hit for four sixes - all down the ground.
Pant have had some issues against slow bowlers but he cleared the cobwebs in his mind as he used his feet to good effect against the spinners.
Pacers Nikit Dhumal and Praveen Dadhe tried to attack him with short balls but he kept his balance while hitting pull shots.
"I was never under any kind of pressure, contrary to what people believe. There are times when you don't get runs. It wasn't as if I was trying to score quickly. I played 110 balls and all were not hit for boundaries and sixes. It means I defended well. Also I share a comfort level with Rana which reflects whenever we bat together," Pant said after the day's play.
The Pant-Rana duo came together in the 16th over with Delhi in a spot of bother at 55/3 with Gautam Gambhir (1), Anuj Rawat (20) and Dhruv Shorey (7) all back to the pavilion, and added 168 runs for the fourth wicket.
Mumbai Indians left-hander Rana hit 11 boundaries and three sixes, with most of his drives through the off-side.
Mumbai Indians talent scout John Wright along with national selector Devang Gandhi must have been happy watching the Young Turks in full flow.
Rana is having a good Ranji season with scores of 110 (vs Assam), 89 (vs Railways), 67 (vs Uttar Pradesh) in previous matches apart from his fourth first-class ton in the current game.
Pant was lucky to have been dropped twice at 44 and 73, especially the second one off Khurana in the long-off region.
He was unlucky when he tried to play a defensive stroke but the edge was taken just a run short of his fifth first-class hundred.
Delhi 1st innings: 260/4 (Nitish Rana 110 batting, Rishabh Pant 99; Chirag Khurana 2/71) vs Maharashtra.
Hyderabad 1st innings: 289/8 (BP Sandeep 84, AT Rayudu 83; Arup Das 3/90, Rahul Singh 3/54) vs Assam.
Rajasthan 1st innings: 153 (Chintan Gaja 8/40)
Gujarat 1st innings: 90/1 (Samit Gohil 46, Priyank Panchal 34 batting).
Bengal bowl out Punjab for 147 on Harbhajan Singh's first-class comeback
Amritsar: Bengal bowlers showed enormous discipline to skittle out Punjab for a paltry 147 before reaching 76 for no loss as they completely dominated the proceedings during day one of their Ranji Trophy group D encounter in Amritsar on Friday.
Harbhajan Singh playing his first four-day game in over 21 months, will hardly be pleased with the performance of his batsmen as they could only play 46 overs during the day.
Opener Shubhman Gill scored 63 off 102 balls with nine boundaries but none of the Punjab batsmen could cross an individual score of 20.
Medium pacer B Amit (3/31 in nine overs) and left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (3/41 in 17 overs) were the wreckers in-chief.
Once Jiwanjot Singh (13) was trapped leg-before by an arm ball from Pramanik, Punjab never had any worthwhile partnerships.
Shubhman and 'keeper Abhishek Gupta (15) did add 33 runs for the fifth wicket but that was certainly not enough as wickets fell at regular intervals.
When Bengal batted, their young openers - left-handed Abhishek Raman (42 batting) and Abhimanyu Easwaran (33 batting) safely negotiated the Punjab attack. Bengal need another 72 runs to take first innings lead.
Punjab skipper Harbhajan bowled six overs on the day and went for 27 runs.
Punjab 1st innings: 147 (Shubhman Gill 63; Pradipta Pramanik 3/41, B Amit 3/31).
Bengal 1st innings: 76/0 (Abhishek Raman 42 batting, Abhimanyu Easwaran 33 batting).
Services 1st innings: 130 (Diwesh Pathania 4/45).
Chhattisgarh: 1st innings: 39/0.
Goa 1st innings: 239 (Keenan Vaz 72, Akshay wakhare 4/50) vs Vidarbha.
Saurashtra's Dharmendrasinh Jadeja takes six-wicket haul to bundle out Kerala for 225
Thiruvananthapuram: Dharmendrasinh Jadeja took a six-wicket haul to enable Saurashtra bundle out Kerala for a meagre 225 on the first day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
At stumps, Saurashtra were 37 without loss with Robin Uthappa unbeaten on 20 and Snell Patel on 16.
Opting to bat upon winning the toss, Kerala lost their openers early but Rohan Prem (29) and Sanju Samson (68) managed to steady the boat.
The duo put on 82 runs together to take their team past the 100-run mark.
However, Prem's dismissal triggered a collapse and Kerala kept losing wickets at regular intervals and even Samson failed to put up a resistance, falling for 68 off 104 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes.
Salman Nizar (28) chipped in with some runs down the order but Kerala's innings folded in 78 overs.
Jadeja finished with impressive figures of six for 112.
Kerala 1st innings: 225 all out (Sanju Samson 68; Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 6/112).
Saurashtra 1st innings: 37/0.
Haryana 1st innings: 119/7 (Himanshu Rana 35; Mohammed Mudhasir 4/34, Ram Dayal 3/35) vs Jammu and Kashmir.
Madhya Pradesh recovers from 67/5 to make 224/7 vs Tamil Nadu on Day 1
Indore: Tamil Nadu let Madhya Pradesh off the hook allowing them to reach 224/7 after having them at 67/5 at one stage at close on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group C match in Indore on Friday.
Ankit Sharma (75 batting) and Ankit Dane (63) came together with the team in trouble after being sent into bat by Tamil Nadu.
They defied K Vignesh (3/27) and M Mohammed (2/46) and steadied the innings.
Tamil Nadu, who need to win their two remaining matches outright to stand a chance of advancing to the knockouts, started in right earnest as Rajat Patidar was caught by skipper Abhinav Mukund off Mohammed for 11.
Mohammed struck again to remove Aditya Shrivastava (13) to leave Madhya Pradesh at 40/2.
Fast-medium bowler Vignesh, one of the finds of the previous season for Tamil Nadu, scalped three batsmen in the space of 27 runs in a superb spell. First, he had the talented young Shubham Sharma caught behind for eight, before sending back Hapreet Singh Bhatia for four.
In the 27th over, he struck a big blow by dismissing the experienced Devendra Bundela, the Madhya Pradesh captain, for 20, putting Tamil Nadu in control.
However, the two Ankits - Sharma and Dane - counterattacked and added runs quickly.
While Ankit Sharma had 12 hits to the boundary, Dane hit eight fours and a six before MS Washington Sundar sent back Dane to a catch by B Indrajith. Sundar struck again in his next over, getting Puneet Datey (0).
Ankit Sharma and Mihir Hirwani, son of former India leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani, saw the team through to stumps without any further loss.
Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 224/7 in 80 overs (Ankit Sharma 75 batting, Ankit Dane 63, K Vignesh 3 for 27) vs Tamil Nadu.
Mumbai 1st innings: 248/6 in 90 overs (Prithvi Shaw 114, Siddhesh Lad 86, Abhishek Nayar 21 batting; B Ayyappa 3/87) vs Andhra Pradesh.
Baroda 1st innings: 281/3 in 90 overs (Kedar Devdhar 104, Deepak Hooda 51, Vishnu Solanki 46 batting) vs Odisha.
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Harbhajan Singh and Geeta Basra had announced the arrival of their second child on 10 July.
Pant, who recently recovered from COVID-19, is fit and ready to play his 22nd Test for India at the very same venue (Trent Bridge), where he had announced his arrival in the Test match arena with a huge six in 2018.
According to sources, Pant might have picked up the Delta 3 variant while visiting a dentist for a toothache problem.