Jaipur: Opener Vineet Saxena remained unbeaten on 110 to guide hosts Rajasthan to 222 for the loss of six wickets at stumps on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match against Bengal on Thursday. Saxena found the fence 14 times during his 259-ball vigil at the crease.
Sent into bat, Rajasthan had a terrible start as the lost opener Sourabh Chouhan for a duck in the last ball off the innings' opening over by Ashok Dinda. But Saxena and Robin Bist (44) stabilised Rajasthan's innings with a 96-run second wicket partnership before the later was caught by Dinda off offspinner Saurasish Lahiri's bowling just six runs short of his fifty.
Both Ashok Menaria (4) and skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (7) failed to deliver and became right-arm pacer Shib Sankar Paul's victims. Saxena and Rajesh Bishnoi (25) then shared a crucial 48-run fifth-wicket stand to take Rajasthan forward.
Bishnoi was the next to depart as he edged a Sandipan Das delivery straight to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps. Next in, Dishant Yagnik (6) too found the going tough and became Lahiri's second victim of the day.
At the close of play, Ramesh Powar (9 not out) was giving Saxena company at the crease. Lahiri was the pick of the bowlers for Bengal with figures of 2 for 24, while Shib Sankar Paul gave away 41 runs for his two scalps.
Brief Scores: Bengal 1st innings: 222 for six in 87 overs (Vineet Saxena 110 not out; Saurasish Lahiri 2 for 24)
Anureet stars for Railways on rain-hit opening day
At New Delhi, Medium-pacer Anureet Singh's three-wicket haul gave Railways the upperhand as they reduced Saurashtra to 88 for 4 on the rain-truncated opening day of their second Group B Ranji Trophy match on Thursday.
Only 46 overs of play was possible after Railways opted to bowl on winning the toss. The start of play was delayed for quite some while after morning showers left the outfield wet. And when play finally started, Railways took control immediately.
Both the Saurashtra openers - Sagar Jogiyani (6) and Chirag Pathak (12) - were back in the pavilion with just 18 runs on the scorecard. The next two batsmen - Bhushan Chouhan and Sheldon Jackson - went back without troubling the scorers and the team total read a rather miserable 24 for 4 in 13.4 overs.
Aarpit Vasavada (44) and skipper Jaydev Shah (25) were trying to rebuild the innings when stumps were drawn for the day. Vasavada has so far struck three fours in his 109-ball knock. Anureet was wrecker-in-chief for the Railways with three scalps, including both the openers. Nine of the 18 overs he bowled on Thursday were maiden and he conceded merely 24 runs in a fine performance in overcast conditions.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 1st innings: 88/4 in 46 overs (Aarpit Vasavada 44 batting, Anureet Singh 3 for 24
Raina slams ton before Baroda strike back
At Vadodara, skipper Suresh Raina led from the front with a fluent century before Uttar Pradesh batting collapsed to hand over the advantage to Baroda in their Group B Ranji Trophy match on Thursday.
Raina made 123 off 154 balls, hitting 12 fours and four sixes in the process after Uttar Pradesh opted to bat at the Moti Bagh Stadium. The visitors were placed at 291 for 9 at stumps on the first day.
Left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt (5 for 98) and off-break bowler Utkarsh Patel (4 for 74) were the wreckers-in-chief for Baroda. Mohammed Kaif contributed 39 and Parvinder Singh made 35.
Batting first, the visitors were off to a sedate start as openers Tanmay Srivastava (23) and Mukul Dagar (27) put on 52 runs for the first wicket. Raina was involved in an 85-run stand for the third wicket with Kaif, before adding 110 runs for the fourth with Parvinder, who scored his runs off 77 balls while spending 226 minutes in the middle, with the left-hander preferring to take bulk of the strike.
At the close of play, Imtiaz Ahmed was batting on 3 with last-man RP Singh to come on Friday.
Badrinath, Aparajith slam tons to power TN to 294 for 3
At Indore, S Badrinath and Baba Aparajith slammed a century each to take Tamil Nadu to a commanding position at the end of the opening day's play in a Group B match of the Ranji Trophy on Thursday.
At stumps, Tamil Nadu were sitting pretty at 294 for the loss of three wickets with Badrinath still going strong.
While Badrinath remained unbeaten on 126, Aparajith got out in the penultimate over of the day after scoring an impressive 118 that came off 194 balls.
Badrinath struck 16 hits to the fence during his 241-ball unbeaten knock, while Aparajith decorated his innings with 14 fours and two sixes.
Sent into bat, Tamil Nadu lost openers Abhinav Mukund (13) and KB Arun Karthik (31) at the team score of 53. But then Badrinath and Aparajith joined hands and stitched a mammoth 24-run third wicket partnership to guide Tamil Nadu to the formidable position.
Aparajith finally departed in the 89th over, edging a Ishwar Pandey delivery straight to Naman Ojha behind the wicket. Dinesh Karthik was the other unbeaten batsman at the crease along with Badrinath at the close of play.
For Madhya Pradesh, pace trio of Amarjeet Singh (1 for 38), Pandey (1 for 57) and Salman Baig (1 for 76) picked up a wicket each.
Tamil Nadu: 294 for three in 90 overs (S Badrinath 126 not out, Baba Aparajith 118; Amarjeet Singh 1/38)