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    Ranji Trophy, Group A, Round 9, Day 1: MP bowlers shine against Saurashtra

    Rajkot: Ishwar Pandey led an impressive bowling effort as Madhya Pradesh left Saurashtra struggling at 212 for nine on the first day of their Group 'A' Ranji Trophy match at Saurashtra Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Pandey returned with impressive figures of three for 37, while Ankeet Sharma and Rameez Khan took two wickets each after the visitors elected to bat.However, it was Anand Rajan who took first wicket for Madhya Pradesh, trapping Shintanshu Kotak in front. The hosts could not recover from the early blow and lost wickets at regular intervals.Barring opener Sheldon Jackson (53) and Arpit Vasavada (54), and to some extent, Kamlesh makvana, who was batting on 41 at stumps, none could make an impact for Saurashtra. Brief scores: Saurashtra 1st innings: 212 for 9 in 90 overs (Arpit Vasavada 54, Sheldon Jackson 53; Ishwar Pandey 3 for 37).Bengal vs Railways:In Kolkata, medium pacer Sourav Sarkar and comeback man Shib Shankar Paul shared five wickets between them as Bengal restricted Railways to 214 for 9.Seamer Sarkar grabbed 3 for 62, while the burly Paul, playing his first-class game in nearly five years, took 2 for 51. Pacer Veer Pratap Singh, left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena and debutant Sandipan Das got a wicket each.For Railways, opener Amit Paunikar scored 50 while, veteran India discard Murali Kartik chipped in with a 48 which helped the visitors cross the 200-run mark at the JU (Salt Lake) ground after they were put into bat.The Railways were reduced to 125 for 6 at one stage before Kartik and leggie Karan Sharma (32) added 68 runs for the seventh wicket to beef up the total.Railways started off on a promising note adding 85 runs for the opening stand before the slide started. Paunikar completed his 50 which had 10 fours but then played away from his body off a Sarkar delivery to be caught by Debabrata Das in the slips.Skipper Sanjay Bangar (4), Prashant Awasthi (8), Nitin Bhille (14) were out in quick succession. The dependable Mahesh Rawat (11) became Paul's first victim. Kartik and Sharma denied any further success to Bengal bowlers, holding the fort for nearly 30 overs. They hit six boundaries each. The partnership was finally broken by debutant Sandipan who got Sharma to edge one to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps.Sarkar and Paul then removed Kartik and Anureet respectively as play was stopped in the final over at the fall of the ninth wicket. Brief scores: Railways 214 for 9 (Amit Paunikar 50, Murali Kartik 48, Karan Sharma 32, Sourav Sarkar 3 for 62, SS Paul 2 for 51) vs Bengal.Rajasthan vs Hyderabad: Read Navneet Mundhra’s match report here. Mumbai vs Gujarat: In Mumbai, skipper Parthiv Patel (101) scored a fighting century to help Gujarat score a modest 244 against Mumbai. The diminutive Patel kept the one end tight but did not get support from his batting colleagues after being invited to bat by Mumbai.India's struggling paceman Zaheer Khan also had a decent day as he bowled 17 overs and took two wickets for 40 runs. Left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan (3 for 54) was the most successful bowler for Gujarat with three wickets while Javed Khan (2 for 46) took two.However, Gujarat began the defence of the total by taking an early wicket, of opener Kaustubh Pawar, who scored 17 before being caught by Chirag Gandhi off Rakesh Dhruv. With Pawar's dismissal, the stumps were drawn for the day.Mumbai ended the day at 24 for 1 with Wasim Jaffer (6) on strike. Apart from Patel only three other Gujarat batsmen reached double figures with Bhargav Merai being the second best scorer with his 41-run knock.Patel came to the crease after Gujarat had lost both the openers Smit Patel (8) and Samit Gohel (30) and was the second-last man out. Left-hander Patel's 101 came off 146 balls and his knock had 12 boundaries in it.Brief scores: Gujarat 1st innings: 244 all out in 78.3 overs. (Parthiv Patel 101, Bhargav Merai 41; A Chavan 3 for 54, Z Khan 2 for 40) Mumbai 1st innings 24 for one in 8.3 overs. (Kaustubh Pawar 17; R Dhriv 1 for 5).(With inputs from agencies)