Nagpur: Shreyas Gopal compiled his fourth hundred in first class cricket, an unbeaten 150, as Karnataka piled on a massive first innings total of 570 to take a huge 397-run lead against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Nagpur on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Bengaluru-born leg-spin bowling all-rounder faced 274 balls and struck 11 fours to become the lone centurion in the Karnataka first innings that saw four other batsmen cross the 50-run mark, including No 11 Sreenath Arvind (51), without reaching three figures.
Facing an imposing task of neutralising the deficit and setting a challenging target for Karnataka, 41-time winners Mumbai floundered for the second time in the match to close Day 3 of the five-day game at 120/3 in 44 overs with Suryakumar Yadav making a fighting, unconquered 55 off 115 balls. Giving Yadav company at close was Akash Parkar (3).
Mumbai, trailing Karnataka by 277 runs with seven wickets in hand, face a Herculean task to set a challenging fourth innings score for the eight-time champions to chase over the last two days of the game at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.
The day began with Karnataka already sitting pretty at 395 for six with skipper R Vinay Kumar on 31 and Shreyas Gopal on 80.
Debutant Shivam Malhotra sent back Kumar quickly this morning, but Mumbai were frustrated by next batsman Krishnappa Gowtham (38) who put on 73 runs for the eighth wicket with Gopal and later last man Arvind who used the long handle to good effect.
Gopal and Arvind, joining hands with the score at 478, did not get separated till they added 92 runs against the insipid Mumbai attack before Malhotra ended the stand as well as the innings with the scalp of the No 11 batsman who clouted a six and nine fours in his 41-ball knock.
For Mumbai, Shivam Dube did not add any wicket to his five-wicket haul, Malhotra finished with three wickets while pacer Dhawal Kulkarni ended up with 2/105.
The Mumbai second innings was off to a rocky start with openers Prithvi Shaw (14) and Jay Bista (20) dismissed cheaply for the second time in the match.
From 34/2, Yadav and Akhil Herwadkar (26) revived the innings with a partnership worth 70 before the latter flicked a short ball from offie Gowtham to the short mid-wicket fielder to depart just before stumps.
Mumbai 1st innings: 173 (Dhawal Kulkarni 75; Vinay Kumar 6/34)
2nd innings: 120/3 (S Yadav not out 55, A Parkar not out 3; K Gowtham 2/30)
Karnataka 1st innings: 570 all out (M Agarwal 78, K Abbas 50, CM Gautam 79, Shreyas Gopal 150 not out, S Arvind 51; Shivam Malhotra 3/97, Shivam Dube 5/98).
Abhimanyu Easwaran, pacers take Bengal closer to semi-final
Jaipur: Abhimanyu Easwaran reaffirmed his status as a future India prospect with a superb unbeaten 93 as Bengal stayed on course for batting defending champions Gujarat out of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final.
After the seam troika of Ashok Dinda (3/48 in 18 overs), Ishan Porel (3/64 in 24.5 overs) and B Amit (3/53 in 16 overs) bowled out Gujarat for 224, ensuring a more than handy 130-run lead, Bengal ended the third day at a comfortable 177/1 in their second innings.
Manoj Tiwary's side are already 307 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand.
Having scored 129 in the first essay, Easwaran once again performed when his team needed the most.
With national selector Sarandeep Singh in attendance, Easwaran is almost a certainty when India A team travels to England next year.
With more than two-and-a-half days left, Bengal needed to bat with a lot of caution and the Dehradun-based right-hander dropped anchor, scoring 93 off 218 balls with 12 boundaries.
He has now literally batted Gujarat out of the contest as a target in the vicinity of 400 will be very difficult to chase.
More importantly, he got good support from Abhishek Raman (33 off 118 balls) as they added 99 for the opening stand. More importantly, they frustrated the Gujarat bowlers for nearly 40 overs.
Easwaran then added 78 runs with another youngster Writtick Chatterjee (40 batting off 103 balls).
Earlier, Rujul Bhatt (32) and Piyush Chawla (43) added 75 runs for the seventh wicket before left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (1/21) cleaned Bhatt up.
The seasoned Chawla then tried a hoick off Dinda to be caught by Amit as Gujarat lost their last four wickets within a space of five runs.
Bengal 1st innings: 354 in 111.5 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 129, Anustup Majumdar 94; Ishwar Chaudhary 5/87).
2nd Innings: 177/1 in 73 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 93 batting, Writtick Chatterjee 40 batting).
Gujarat 1st innings: 224 in 74.5 overs (Bharghav Merai 67, Parthiv Patel 47; B Amit 3/53, Ashok Dinda 3/48, Ishan Porel 3/64).
Delhi hold edge against Madhya Pradesh despite Mihir Hirwani's five-for
Vijaywada: Former India spinner Narendra Hirwani's son Mihir picked up a five-wicket haul but Delhi still nosed ahead of Madhya Pradesh after taking a crucial 67-run first-innings lead in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Vijaywada on Saturday.
Mihir, who, like his father, also bowls leg-spin, returned figures of five for 89 in 27.4 overs. His effort, though, was not enough for Madhya Pradesh to prevent Delhi from taking the first-innings lead.
In reply to Madhya Pradesh's 338 all out, Delhi's first innings ended at 405, after which they grabbed the wickets of Rajat Patidar and Ankit Dane to reduce Madhya Pradesh to 47 for two at stumps on the third day.
Resuming at 180 for two, Delhi were helped by contributions from most of their top and middle-order batsmen at the Dr Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground.
While Kunal Chandela top-scored with 81 off 179 balls, Dhruv Shorey struck 78 while facing 120 deliveries with the help of 10 boundaries, and Himmat Singh made a crucial 71 to help Delhi take the vital first-innings lead.
Skipper Rishabh Pant had raced to 49 off 56 balls before being dismissed by Hirwani - one of his five victims - while Nitish Rana chipped in with a 43-run knock.
Besides Hirwani's five-for, Ishwar Pandey and Ankit Sharma had two wickets each.
Having taken the lead, Delhi made the opening breakthrough in Madhya Pradesh's second innings when medium pacer Vikas Tokas had Patidar caught and bowled in the fourth over.
Madhya Pradesh were dealt another blow when Dane was run out just before the close of play. Madhya Pradesh led Delhi by 20 runs with eight wickets remaining.
Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 338 all out in 124.1 overs (Harpreet Singh 107 not out; Manan Sharma 4/46).
2nd innings: 47/2 in 18 overs.
Delhi 1st innings: 405 all out in 119.4 overs (Kunal Chandela 81, Dhruv Shorey 78, Himmat Singh 71; Mihir Hirwani 5/89).
Rajneesh Gurbani, Faiz Fazal put Vidarbha in control against Kerala
Surat: Medium pacer Rajneesh Gurbani took a five-wicket haul to bowl out Kerala for 176 before Vidarbha finished Day 3 on 77 for one, extending their overall lead to 147 runs in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Surat on Saturday.
At stumps, captain Faiz Fazal was unbeaten on 51, while Akshay Wakhare was on seven.
Resuming on 32 for two, Kerala kept losing wickets at regular intervals in reply to Vidarbha's first-innings total of 246 with Gurbani (5/38 in 14 overs) wreaking havoc.
Overnight batsman Jalaj Saxena top-scored with 40. He along with Rohan Prem (29) stretched their overnight stand to 47 before the latter got out.
Saxena then coupled with Sanju Samson (32) to put on 44 runs for the fourth wicket and take Kerala's score beyond 100. But Samson's dismissal triggered a collapse and Kerala went from 115 for three to be bundled out for a meagre 176 with Gurbani cutting through the middle and lower order.
Having taken a 70-run first innings lead, Vidarbha started their second innings on a positive note with Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy (14) adding a 53-run opening stand.
Thereafter Wakhare, the nightwatchman, hung around with his captain to ensure that Vidarbha did not lose any more wickets till the close of play.
Vidarbha 1st innings: 246 in 105.3 overs (Akshay Vinod Wadkar 53, Aditya Sarwate 36; KC Akshay 5/66, Jalaj Saxena 3/52).
2nd innings: 77/1 in 30 overs (Faiz Fazal 51 batting).
Kerala 1st innings: 176 all out in 61.5 overs (Jalaj Saxena 40, Sanju Samson 32; Rajneesh Gurbani 5/38).