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    Ranji Trophy, Group B: Pujara strikes 269 for Saurashtra; Bengal manage three points

    Chennai: Cheteshwar Pujara got some much-needed batting practice ahead of India's tour of South Africa making 269 while skipper Jaydev Shah missed a double ton by five runs as Saurashtra grabbed the first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu in their Ranji Trophy match on Sunday.

    Pujara faced 461 balls and hit 33 boundaries while Shah made 195 off 296 balls. Shah faced the fence 17 times and was involved in a huge 353-run stand for the fourth wicket with Pujara in the Group B match.

    Thanks to their efforts, Saurashtra overtook Tamil Nadu's massive first-innings score, eventually declaring at 581 for 6 in 161.4 overs. Tamil Nadu had scored 565 for 8 in 158.2 overs. After the fall of Shah, Pujara added 157 runs with Aarpit Vasavada (70).

    This was Pujara's third first-class century on the trot, having reached the three-figure mark in the Mumbai Test against the West Indies and versus Bengal in a Ranji match.

    Resuming at overnight 326 for 3 with both Pujara and Shah well past their hundreds, Saurashtra had little trouble in tackling the Tamil Nadu attack spearheaded by L Balaji.

    Pujara started the day on 152 while Shah was batting on 133 at the start of day's play. Pujara's effort was the match's second double century, with Abhinav Mukund making 240.

    Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 565 for 8 in 158.2 overs; Saurashtra 1st innings: 581 for 6 in 161.4 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 269, Jaydev Shah 195)

    Bengal manage three points against Services on a placid track

    At New Delhi, Favourites Bengal picked up the remaining four Services wickets within 90 minutes to grab three points by virtue of their 127-run first innings lead in their fifth round Ranji Trophy encounter on Sunday.

    Chasing Bengal's first innings total of 431, Services were all out for 304 in in 120.5 overs as speedster Ashoke Dinda (3 for 97 in 32 overs) and offbreak bowler Sourashish Lahiri (3 for 69) were successful bowlers.

    Left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena (2 for 54 in 30 overs) also did a good job by removing Soumya Ranjan Swain (56) early in the morning with an armer that he padded up at the Airforce Ground in Palam.

    Bengal now have 11 points from five games and will be desperate for an outright win in their next game against the Railways which will be followed by two heavyweight teams Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

    Sourashish Lahiri was adjudged Man of the Match by the on-field umpires and match referee Sanjay Patil and will get a financial reward of Rs 25,000.

    The match as a contest was over when Services were all out within 19.5 overs in the day. Once Irfan Khan (0) was run out after a mix-up, Services were reduced to 267 for 8 and still required 15 runs to avoid follow-on. It was Suraj Yadav (42 no), who batted with a twisted ankle helped Services to get past the 282-run mark required to avoid follow-on.

    In an inconsequential second innings, Bengal scored 126 for 3 with veteran Subhamoy Das (54) and Arindam Das (50) helping themselves to half-centuries.

    The match was called off after the first mandatory over with out-of-form batsmen Anushtup Majumdar (12 no, 35 balls) and Sandipan Das (5, 27 balls) batting out 10 overs without showing any positive intent making it unbearable for the handful who were present at the ground.

    Brief scores: Bengal: 431 & 126/3 in 54 overs (Subhamoy Das 54, Arindam Das 50); Services: 304 in 120.5 overs (Vishnu Tiwary 71, Soumya Ranjan Swain 56, Pratik Desai 52, Ashoke Desai 3/97, Sourashis Lahiri 3/69)

    Middle-order earns draw for Rajasthan against UP

    At Jaipur, a determined batting by their middle- order batsmen ensured that Rajasthan walked away with a draw but Uttar Pradesh grabbed three points by the virtue of their first innings lead in a Ranji Trophy Group B match.

    Chasing 361 to win, Rajasthan batted out the whole day, scoring 253 for 6 with at least three batsmen scoring half-centuries.

    Bist brothers - Robin and Chetan - and Rajesh Bishnoi saved the hosts, who were reeling at 76 for 4 one stage after starting the day at 15 for no loss. Robin made 51, Rajesh 53 and Chetan remained unbeaten on 61 at Swai Mansingh stadium.

    The hosts lost openers Siddarth Saraf (5) and Vineet Saxena (21) cheaply as paceman RP Singh had the former caught behind.

    Imtiaz Ahmed removed Sexena and struck a vital blow to the hosts by dismissing rival skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (5).

    Ali Murtaza in between removed well-set Ashok Menaria (40) but Robin combined with Bishnoi to stabilise the innings.

    They added 93 runs for the fifth wicket before Arish Alam had Bishnoi caught by Murtaza. The Bist brothers then batted together long enough to ensure that Rajasthan reach a safe position.

    Brief Scores:

    Uttar Pradesh 226 and 319 for 5 declared; Rajasthan 185 and 253 for 6 in 93 overs.(Robin Bist 51, Rajesh Bishnoi 53, Chetan Bist 61 not out; Imtiaz Ahmed 3/48)