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    Ranji Trophy, Group B: Mali gets eight for Railways; Jackson's ton for Saurashtra

    Vadodara: Medium pacer Ranjitkumar Mali produced a dream spell that saw him take eight wickets for 45 runs, as Railways bundled out Baroda for 176 in their Group B Ranji Trophy match on Thursday.

    Opting to field after winning the toss, Railways rode on the 25-year-old Mali, who hails from Tezpur in Assam, to run through the Baroda line-up in their first innings. This is Mali's best figures in first-class cricket, having made his debut in 2008.

    At stumps on the first day, Railways were 24 for 1 in 16 overs. For Baroda, Aditya Waghmode made 33 while Yusuf Pathan and Murtuja Vahora contributed 32 each at the Moti Bagh Stadium.

    Brief scores: Baroda 1st innings: 176 all out in 69 overs (Aditya Waghmode 33; Ranjitkumar Mali 8 for 45)

    Pailwal, Desai strike fifties in Services fight against Rajasthan

    Rajat Paliwal came up with a fighting unbeaten half-century and combined well with lower-order batsmen to take Services to 275 for 6 against Rajasthan in their Ranji Trophy Group B match.

    Paliwal was batting on 71 and Suraj Yadav on 23 when stumps were drawn for the day. They added quick 39 runs in 6.3 overs in their seventh-wicket unfinished stand.

    Among the top-order batsmen, only opener Pratik Desai (65) put up some fight against the former champions. Paliwal got a good support from Vishnu Tiwari (45) and their 106-run stand stabilised the innings of hosts, who were struggling at 130 for 5.

    Their stand ended when Rituraj Singh castled Tiwari, who hit two fours in his 103-ball knock.

    Fast bowler Pankaj Singh (3 for 74) rocked Services top order with his three-wicket burst after his pace colleague Aniket Choudhary drew the first blood for Rajasthan. Left-arm paceman Choudhary had Services skipper Soumik Chatterjee (11) caught behind after they decided to bowl at Palam Ground.

    Pankaj then sent back Anshul Gupta (1) and wicket-keeper Nakul Verma (29). The other opener Pratik Deai was batting solid from the other end but was eventually trapped by Pankaj. His 65 came off 123 balls with six boundaries. Choudhary had his second victim when he trapped Yashpal Singh (5). However, the hosts batted well after that.

    Brief Scores: Services: 275 for 6 in 90 overs. (Rajat Paliwal 71 batting, Pratik Desai 65; Pankaj Singh 3 for 74, Aniket Choudhary 2 for 39)

    Jackson saves Saurashtra with ton on day one

    At Rajkot: Sheldon Jackson struck an unbeaten century and shared a 138-run partnership with Sagar Jogiyani as Saurashtra overcame early jolts to reach 235 for four against Uttar Pradesh in their Ranji Trophy Group B match.

    After electing to bat, the hosts were struggling at 55 for 3 when Jackson joined Jogiyani at the crease and the two batsmen lifted their team out of trouble.

    Jackson was batting on 102 off 184 balls while Jogiyani was scalped by legspinner Piyush Chawla after making 74 off 237 balls. Giving Jackson company was Aarpit Vasavada on 17. Saurashtra lost both the openers inside seven overs.

    Paceman Imtiaz Ahmed had Bhushan Chauhan caught behind for a duck while Chirag Pathak (4) was trapped by India discard paceman RP Singh.

    Jogiyani and skipper Jaydev Shah added 41 runs for the third wicket and looked like rebuilding the innings but Chawla foiled their plans by removing Shah.

    However, it was a long drawn battle for UP bowlers after that as Jogiyani and Jackson steadily built the innings.

    Jogiyani hit 12 fours in his sedate knock while Jackson hit 14 fours and a six. They batted together for 50 overs to ensure that momentum is withdrawn from the rivals. Chawla broke the stand when he had Jogiyani caught by Mukul Dagar.

    Brief Scores: Saurashtra 1st innings: 235 for 4 in 90 overs.(Sheldon Jackson 102 batting, Sagar Jogiyani 74; Piyush Chawla 2 for 61)

    Madhya Pradesh score 293/4 riding on Ojha's unbeaten ton

    At Kolkata: Naman Ojha struck an unbeaten century on a dead-looking Eden pitch as Madhya Pradesh put themselves in a comfortable position against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy group B league match.

    Bengal had opted for a green top but the slow and low surface severely "upset" the home side as Madhya Pradesh took full advantage of the track after electing to bat and score 293 for 4 with Ojha unbeaten on 101, his 10th first-class century. Udit Birla was batting on 14 at the other end when the stumps were drawn for the day.

    After being dropped on 5, Ojha first had a fruitful 100-run partnership with Mohnish Mishra (64) and then his stand with skipper Devendra Bundela (35) yielded 97 runs as Madhya Pradesh remained on course for yet another good show against Bengal.

    Madhya Pradesh had defeated Bengal by bonus point last season, while in 2011-12, they walked away with three points chasing down 496 in the first innings in Kolkata.

    For the Madhya Pradesh wicketkeeper batsman, this was his second consecutive Ranji Trophy century here after his 127 at the JU Saltlake Campus ground in the 2011-12 season.

    The home side sorely missed Mohammad Shami, who is doing the Team India duty in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell match in Mumbai, as none of their bowlers could pose any threat on the eased out track.

    Wicketless Ashok Dinda slogged for 24 overs, while senior most Sib Shankar Paul was forced to bowl 19 overs and gave the first breakthrough after the first drink break in pre-lunch session.

    As their own ploy backfired, Paul severely criticised the pitch in the post-match interaction.

    Terming it half-baked, a frustrated-looking Paul said: "The feeling was like tasting a saltless food. Obviously, they had little time to prepare with the India-West Indies Test but we expected some bounce. It appears green but there was no bounce or carry in the wicket. It really upsets everybody in the team."

    With nothing going in their way, the catching too was a let down. Paul gave the first breakthrough with the scalp of Satyam Chaudhary who had an unbeaten double century against Railways in the first round.

    But Bengal could not capitalise as five overs later, Anustup Majumdar dropped a regulation catch of Ojha at the second slip off skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla's bowling.

    Ojha later conceded that Shami's absence was a boon for Madhya Pradesh. "They bowled well but Shami's absence certainly gave us an edge. We now have a match in hand and would look to add to the total as much as possible tomorrow," the 30-year-old said.

    Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 293 for 4 in 89 overs (Naman Ojha 101 batting, Mohnish Mishra 64) vs Bengal