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    Ranji Group A, Round 1, Day 3: Punjab chase big win

    Mohali: Punjab were entertaining hopes of an outright win by the close of play at the PCA Stadium here on Sunday, where Hyderabad needed to score 261 to make the home team bat again. A three-wicket burst from Siddarth Kaul left VVS Laxman walking out at 40 for 3 and needing to dig into his vault of experience to prevent a rout on Monday.Punjab openers Karan Goel and Jiwanjot Singh fell eight runs short of their state’s record, set by Vikram Rathour and Navjot Singh Sidhu at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, but the latter’s 211 played a big part of Punjab’s 565 for 6. With the Rathour-Sidhu record in sight, Hanuma Vihari made the first breakthrough for Hyderabad in the 93rd over when he had Goel (129) caught behind at 288 for 1. Pragyan Ojha finally struck in his 36th over with the wicket of Mandeep Singh 33 and then added Gurkeerat Singh (18). Jiwanjot fell moments for 211, becoming just the fifth batsman to score a double-century on first-class debut. Uday Kaul held one end together with an unbeaten 54 while Amitoze Singh (29) and Harbhajan Singh (48*) injected quick runs to Punjab’s total which swelled to 565 when the declaration happened. From 36 for 0, Hyderabad slumped to 40 for 3 with Siddarth Kaul having DB Ravi Teja, Vihari and Pagadala Naidu all caught behind in a bustling new-ball spell.Hyderabad 258 and 46 for 3 in 15 overs trail Punjab 565 for 6 in 150 overs (Jiwanjot Singh 211, Karan Goel 129, Uday Kaul 54*, Harbhajan Singh 48*) by 261 runsRailways were staring at the follow-on mark against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium after reaching 380 for 8 at stumps on day three. They need to score 41 runs to make Mumbai bat again.The big wicket for Mumbai came when Saturday’s centurion Abhishek Nayar got Railways veteran Sanjay Bangar (67) to drive a catch to Iqbal Abdulla at extra cover, leaving the visitors at 141 for 3. From 181 for 4 at lunch, Mumbai slipped to 200 for 5 when Bangar’s partner in a 110-run stand, Nitin Bhille (73), became Ajit Agarkar’s third wicket. Mahesh Rawat (68) dug in push the score along to 283 for 6 at tea, with Railways still 148 runs from the follow-on. Aashish Yadav (47) and Murali Kartik (41) kept Mumbai at bay for much of the final session until Abdulla removed the pair. Mumbai were without the services of Zaheer Khan, who walked off the field after bowling five balls in the 99th over having only recently returned from another break post tea. Railways 380 f0r 8 in 118 overs (Sanjay Bangar 67, Mahesh Rawat 68, Aashish Yadav 47, Murali Kartik 41) trail Mumbai 570 by 190 runsOn another stop-start day at murky Eden Gardens, Bengal led by 206 runs when early stumps were drawn. Bad light first forced a halt to play in the afternoon session the home team effectively 195 for 3 after Pankaj Singh put in another whole-hearted bowling performance; Rajasthan took two wickets in the brief passage of play that followed before bad light returned. The day began under overcast skies in Kolkata, with Sourav Sarkar striking with his in-swinging deliveries to soon have the defending champions at 71 for 6. A seventh-wicket stand of 59 between Madhur Khatri (49) and Dishant Yagnik (14) took Rajasthan past the follow-on mark, 108, thus denying Bengal a chance at an outright win. Rajasthan finally were dismissed for 161 to concede a 97-run lead. Sarkar finished with 4 for 62 and Laxmi Ratan Shukla 3 for 21. Rajasthan were given a boost when Pankaj sent back Subhomoy Das for 0 before lunch, and in the afternoon trapped Jajoyit Basu lbw for a career-best 48. Writam Porel edged Aniket Choudhary to first slip for 37, but soon after poor light sent the teams inside. Bengal 258 and 109 for 5 in 43 overs lead Rajasthan 161 in 58.1 overs (Madhur Khatri 49; Sourav Sarkar 4/62) by 206 runsHaving taken a 105-run lead over Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat added quick runs in their second innings to set the home team a target of 407 at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. With a 77-ball 80 to go with 162 on day one, Parthiv Patel declared shortly before stumps with his team 301 for 6. In the remaining seven overs MP made 23 for no loss to trail by 384 runs.Earlier in the day MP’s last two wickets added 38 to the overnight total before Mehul Patel snuffed out the tail to finish with 4 for 37, and after an early loss the run-plundering continued. Gujarat lost their first wicket with just one run on the board but Under-19 star Smit Patel (60) and veteran Neeraj Patel (59) put on 106 for the second wicket. That was followed by Neeraj Patel and Parthiv piling on 83 run in 20 overs as Gujarat’s lead swelled. Madhya Pradesh 250 in 84.5 overs (Mehul Patel 4/37) and 23 for 0 in seve overs trail Gujarat 355 and 301 for 6 in 51 overs (Smit Patel 60; Neeraj Patel 59, Parthiv Patel 8*) by 384 runs