New Delhi: Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir served a timely reminder to the selectors with a potentially match-winning knock of 153 while Virender Sehwag failed yet again as Delhi closed in on a comprehensive outright win against Haryana in a Ranji Trophy group League encounter at Roshnara club.
Starting the day at 35 for no loss, Delhi declared at 312 for 7 leaving Haryana with a stiff target of 376. At stumps, the visitors were reeling at 63 for 5 with debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood picking up three wickets for three runs.
The day belonged to Gambhir who faced 215 balls hitting 25 fours. He batted for nearly five hours and stepped the run rate after reaching his 100 to set up Delhi for their first six points in the tournament.
With the Test squad for South Africa set to be announced in a few weeks' time, Gambhir has certainly made a case for himself in the reserve opener's slot.
Sehwag didn't have any such luck as he played another rash shot trying to slash a delivery from medium pacer Ashish Hooda away from his body only to offer a simple catch to Sunny Singh at first slip.
Sehwag made six this time and this took his total Ranji score to 69 from six innings this season. Gambhir, on the other hand, was patient enough. He had a lot of edges that flew past slip and gully region but still managed to hit some good cover drives, pull shots and lofted shots over extra cover.
He reached his century with a slash over point but after reaching his ton was more fluent. He got some good support from Mithun Manhas, who smashed his way to 36 off 37 balls before retiring hurt due to a hamstring pull.
Brief scores: Delhi 201 & 312/7 dec (Gautam Gambhir 153, Rajat Bhatia 56 no, Virender Sehwag 6)
Haryana 138 & (target 376) 63/5 (Varun Sood 3/3).
Punjab take control against Gujarat
Mohali: Taruwar Kohli (50) and Uday Kaul (52 not out) notched up half-centuries as Punjab put themselves in the drivers' seat by posting 309 all out in their second innings on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group A match against Gujarat.
Resuming at 127 for 2, Punjab added another 182 runs on Saturday with Kohli and wicketkeeper Kaul playing a major role. Mandeep Singh (46) was the other batsman who chipped in with a substantial score at the PCA Stadium.
Kohli was solid in his 146-ball innings which was studded with five fours and a six while Kaul played an attacking innings by hitting 10 boundaries in his 93-ball knock.
For Gujarat, Jasprit Bumrah and Mehul Patel grabbed three wickets apiece while Rakesh Dhruv took two wickets. Set with a victory target of 355, Gujarat were reduced to 33 for 3 from 24.5 overs at the draw of stumps. The visitors need another 322 runs with seven second innings wickets in hand.
Brief scores: Punjab: 172 & 309 all out in 111.5 overs (Taruwar Kohli 50, Uday Kaul 52 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 3/63, Mehul Patel 3/79).
Gujarat: 127 & 33 for 3 in 24.5 overs (Samit Gohel batting 20; Sandeep Sharma (Jr) 2/7).
Mohanty's spell helps Odisha control Jharkhand
Cuttack: Pacer Basant Mohanty wrecked havoc with a six-wicket haul to put Odisha in command on the third and penultimate day of their Group A Ranji Trophy match against Jharkhand.
Mohanty grabbed all the six Jharkhand wickets that fell on Saturday as the visiting side ended the day at 149 for 6 at the DRIEMS Ground at Tangi here.
Saurabh Tiwary (57) and Pappu Singh (56 batting) were the only two Jharkhand batsmen who put up some resistance. Jharkhand now lead by 63 runs with four second innings wickets in hand.
Sunday's first session may determine the outcome of the match. If Odisha are able to bundle out Jharkhand quickly, they may be able to force a win. Otherwise, the match may end in a draw as with a day remaining and just 63 runs ahead, Jharkhand are unlikely to force a win.
After conceding a 86-run first innings lead to Odisha, the visiting side made a disastrous start to their second essay with their top three batsmen perishing at the team score of 15.
Jharkhand continued their awful batting by being reduced to 37 for 5 before Tiwary and Singh shared 99 runs for the sixth wicket to save the visiting side from disaster. Earlier, Odisha were all out for 307 in 118.4 overs after resuming the day at 245 for 5.
Brief scores: Jharkhand 221 & 149 for 6 in 59 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 57, Pappu Singh 56; Basant Mohanty 6/63).
Odisha: 307 all out in 118.4 overs (Biplab Samantray 67; Ajay Yadav 5/61).
Vidarbha-Karnataka tie heads for a draw
Nagpur: With the match heading towards a tame draw, both Vidarbha and Karnataka look to fight it out to take the first innings lead, as the third and penultimate day on Saturday ended with the two teams sharing honours in their Group A Ranji Trophy match here.
In reply to Vidarbha's 542, Karnataka reached 252 for 2 in their first innings at the close of play. The visitors now trail the hosts by 290 runs with eight wickets in hand here at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha.
Starting the day on 457 for 6, Vidarbha lost overnight batsman - skipper Shalabh Shrivastava - early with the addition of just six runs to his last night's score of 187. Shrivastava blasted 22 boundaries during his 193-run knock off 488 balls, besides adding 103 runs for the seventh wicket with the other overnight batsman Sumit Ruikar (67).
Important contributions from tailenders Amol Jungade (15) and Umesh Yadav (34) ensured that the hosts cross the 550-run mark. HS Sharath of Karnataka was the pick of the bowlers with four for 104.
Karnataka got off to a great start in reply to Vidarbha's massive total, with Robin Uthappa (86) and Mayank Agarwal (71) putting on 124 runs for the opening wicket.
At stumps, Lokesh Rahul was unbeaten on 59 and giving him company at the other end was Manish Pandey on 21. The duo has already added an unbeaten 49 runs for the third wicket.
Brief scores: Vidarbha 1st innings: 542 all out (Shalabh Shrivastava 193, Faiz Fazal 147, Sumit Ruikar 67; HS Sharath 4/104).
Karnataka 1st innings: 252 for two (Robin Uthappa 86, Mayank Agarwal 71; Akshay Wakhare 1/36).