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    Ranji Trophy, Group A: Mumbai gain upperhand; Delhi concede slender lead

    Mohali: Defending champions Mumbai look firm favourites to record their second outright victory against Punjab in a group A league match of their Ranji Trophy on Saturday.

    Chasing a tough victory target of 399, Punjab were tottering at 108 for 4 at stumps on the third day with Test discard Yuvraj Singh batting on 19 in company of Uday Kaul (0 batting). Punjab require 291 runs on the final day with six wickets in hand. It will be an onerous task for Yuvraj to save and get at least a point for Punjab on the final day.

    Veteran pacer Zaheer Khan (2 for 24) gave a good account of himself in a short eight-over burst in which he removed openers Jiwanjot Singh (31) and Ravi Inder Singh (19). While Jiwanjot nicked an away-going delivery to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, Ravi Inder got one that held its line and went past his defence. The other two wickets were taken by left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar (2 for 41), who opened the bowling with pacer Javed Khan.

    Earlier, starting the day at 35 for no loss, Mumbai scored 271 in 64.4 overs largely due to 61-ball 62 from middle-order batsman Surya Kumar Yadav. Yadav struck nine boundaries and upped the ante when it required the most.

    Pacer Javed smashed a quickfire 30-ball 44 which helped Mumbai set a target close to 400. Javed and Vishal added 45 runs for the final wicket which propped up the team total. Javed struck three big sixes apart from three boundaries.

    For Punjab, left-arm spinner Rajiwnder Singh Golu took 5 for 102 while skipper Harbhajan Singh grabbed 4 for 67 as he returned with a match-haul of eight wickets after having taken nine in the first game. Harbhajan now has taken 17 wickets in four completed innings followed by Mumbai's Dabholkar with 13 scalps.

    Brief Scores: Mumbai 282 and 271 (Surya Kumar Yadav 62, Javed Khan 44, Rajiwnder Singh Golu 5 for 102, Harbhajan Singh 4 for 67). Punjab 155 & 108/4 (Yuvraj Singh 19 batting, Zaheer Khan 2/24)

    Delhi concede slender 1st innings lead

    At Surat, a formidable Delhi side conceded a 25-run first innings lead to Gujarat before reducing the hosts to 89 for 4 in the second innings at stumps on the third day of their Group A Ranji Trophy encounter at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium.

    Gujarat now enjoy an overall lead of 114 runs with six wickets in hand and day's play left to at least go home with three points.

    In reply to Gujarat's first innings score of 320, Delhi were all-out for 295 despite a fighting knock of 104 by Mithun Manhas and steady 64 by left-handed Manan Sharma. Veteran Ashish Nehra provided some resistance with a gritty 37 down the order but eventually ran out of partners with left-arm spinner Akshar Patel grabbing career-best figures of 6 for 55. Offie Jesal Karia (3 for 43) gave him good support having picked up the prized scalp of Virender Sehwag on Friday.

    Delhi started the day at 195 for 4 but lost Manan in the fourth over of the day as Akshar breached through his defences. Manhas-Manan partnership produced 153 runs. Manan, son of former India cricketer Ajay Sharma, faced 136 balls hitting 10 fours and a six.

    On the otherhand, Manhas reached his 23rd first-class hundred before padding up an arm-ball from left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv. With Sumit Narwal also dismissed cheaply, Delhi were reduced to 242 for 7 before Nehra and Rajat Bhatia (23) joined hands to add 37 runs for the eighth wicket. The gutsy Bhatia was adjudged plumb in-front off an Akshar delivery.

    In his desperate bid, Nehra hit a few boundaries before offering a return catch to Karia. In the second innings, Delhi bowlers came out all guns blazing reducing Gijarat to 47 for 4 before the two Patels - opener Smit (23 batting) and skipper Parthiv (28 batting) - stemmed the rot with an unbroken 42-run fifth wicket stand.

    Brief Scores: Gujarat 320 & 89 for 4 (Parthiv Patel 28 batting, Sumit Narwal 2 for 15); Delhi 295 (Mithun Manhas 104, Manan Sharma 64, Akshar Patel 6/55)

    Haryana-Vidarbha set for tight finish

    At Nagpur, Jayant Yadav's five-wicket haul helped Haryana take the crucial first innings lead before Vidarbha fought back to leave their Ranji Trophy Group B match evenly poised after the third and penultimate day on Saturday.

    Haryana dismissed Vidharbha for 287 but were themselves reduced to 29 for 2 in their second innings when stumps were drawn for the day. Overnight 94 for 3, half centuries by Hemang Badani (65) and Rashmi Parida (60) steered Vidharbha from the precarious position. Shrikant Wagh also chipped in with 40 valuable runs to help the home team's cause.

    Badani, who was overnight 35, struck eight fours in all in his 128-ball knock. Parida also struck a similar number of fours during his 147-ball stay at the crease. But in the absence of any other noteworthy contribution, Vidarbha ended up conceding a crucial 42-run first innings lead which would help Haryana in the points table in case of a draw.

    Jayant Yadav was the star for Haryana with his five scalps, three of which he pulled off on Friday itself. The offspinner's 32 overs, five of them maiden, cost just 77 runs. Haryana's second innings began on a disappointing note as they lost both their openers with just 18 runs on the scoreboard.

    While Abhimanyu Khod was trapped leg before by Wagh without contributing a single run, Nitin Saini fell to Sumit Ruikar after making just 7 runs off 22 deliveries. Sunny Singh (15) and Harshal Patel (6) were holding fort for Haryana at close of play on Saturday.

    Brief Scores: Vidarbha: 287 all out in 112.5 overs (Hemang Badani 65, Rashmi Parida 60, Jayant Yadav 5/77); Haryana: 329 and 29/2 in 10 overs (Sunny Singh 15 batting)

    Karnataka take lead on back of superb batting show

    At Mysore, Mayank Agarwal missed out on century on his debut but Karnataka produced a splendid batting effort to take a vital 60-run first innings against Jharkhand in their Ranji Trophy Group A match.

    Opener Mayank, who was 63 overnight, scored 90 runs before being castled by paceman Rahul Shukla.

    However, the foundation laid by him was well capitalised by other batsmen as Manish Pandey (52), CM Gautam (42), Ganesh Satish (63) and R Vinay Kumar (55 not out) all batted in superb fashion.

    The hosts declared their innings 424 for 7 and gave six overs to rival to negotiate before the close of third day's play at Gangotri Glades.

    Jharkhand were 4 for no loss with Bhavik Thaker and Akash Verma batting on two runs each.

    Mayank smashed 12 boundaries and a six in 144 balls he faced. He put on a crucial 99-run partnership for the second wicket with fellow overnight Kunal Kapoor (49).

    Kapoor was scalped by slow left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem, who had the batsman caught behind. Mayank too departed three overs later off Shukla.

    Pandey (52) and Gautam (42) steadied the innings by putting on 69-run stand for fourth wicket. Shukla struck two quick blows, sending Gautam and allrounder Stuart Binny (2), leaving Karnataka reeling at 249 for 5.

    But Pandey and Ganesh Satish came to the hosts' rescue with a vital 65-run stand for sixth wicket. Pandey later was caught by SS Quadri off the bowling of India discard Varun Aaron.

    However, Ganesh (63) continued to play well and found able companion in captain Vinay Kumar to take the hosts to 372, before he was caught by Ishank Jaggi off Nadeem.

    Soon after Vinay completed his half-century and had Abhimanyu Mithun (30 not out) at the crease, Karnataka declared the innings.