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    Ranji Trophy, Group B: Services take upper hand against MP

    New Delhi: Yashpal Singh scored a fine century as Services posted 391 on the third and penultimate day to take a 152-run first innings lead before reducing Madhya Pradesh to 127 for 3 in their Ranji Trophy Group B league encounter on Saturday.

    Madhya Pradesh still trail by 25 runs with seven wickets remaining. Going into fourth day, Services will look to bundle out the visitors as early as possible and then try to overhaul the required target to score an outright win.

    Resuming on 256 for 3, overnight batsman Yashpal, starting on 81, went on to complete his century but his partner Rajat Paliwal (99) could add just eight more runs to his last night's total to fall only a run short of his ton. The overnight duo raised a solid 164-run stand for the fourth wicket.

    Yashpal then joined hands with Vishnu Tiwari (32) to put on a 52 runs for the sixth wicket to give Services an edge. Yashpal's 142 came off 270 balls with 13 hit to the fence and three sixes. For MP, Jalaj Saxena was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 for 83.

    Already 152 runs behind, MP got off to a poor start in their second innings, losing Jalaj Saxena (4) early. The other opener in Satyam Choudhary (15) also fell cheaply to leave the visitors reeling at 30 for two.

    But Naman Ojha and Mohnish Mishra (31) came to the team's rescue, sharing a crucial 71-run stand for the third wicket.

    At stumps, Naman was unbeaten on 61 and giving him company at the other end was Devendra Bundela on five.

    Brief scores: Services 1st innings: 391 all out (Yashpal Singh 142, Rajat Paliwal 99; Jalaj Saxena 4/83); MP: 239 & 127 for three (Naman Ojha batting 61, Mohnish Mishra 31; T Koteswar Rao 2/18).

    Rajasthan-Railways match heads towards close finish

    At Jaipur, Railways shot out Rajasthan for 178 in their first innings but themselves collapsed to 150 even though it was enough to set a challenging target of 256 for the hosts on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match.

    On a dramatic day, 14 wickets fell as Rajasthan failed to hold on for too long from the overnight 142 for 6. The Railways response was not too impressive either but it was just enough to post a challenging target.

    In reply, Rajasthan were five for no loss at stumps with Siddharth Saraf (4) and Vineet Saxena (0) at the crease for the home side.

    Earlier this morning, Anureet Singh Singh, Krishankant Upadhyay and Ranjitkumar Mali picked up three wickets apiece to send Rajasthan packing for 178.

    However, Railways themselves endured a spectacular batting collapse to be skittled out for 150. Only Nitin Bhille managed to put up a semblance of fight with his 170-ball 50.

    Seven of Railways batsmen went back to the pavilion without touching the double-digit mark. For Rajasthan, Deepak Chahar and Aniket Choudhary scalped three wickets apiece to wreck the Railways' batting in 62.5 overs.

    Brief Scores: Railways: 283 and 150; Rajasthan: 178 and 5 for no loss in three overs.

    Chawla's ton powers UP ahead of Tamil Nadu

    At Meerut, Piyush Chawla led from the front with an unbeaten century to give Uttar Pradesh the crucial first innings lead over Tamil Nadu at the end of the third and penultimate day's play in a Group B match of the Ranji Trophy.

    Legspinner Chawla showcased his batting abilities during his 114-run unconquered knock and together with wicket-keeper Eklavya Dwivedi (70) added 97 vital runs for the seventh wicket to bail UP out from trouble.

    Chawla, who got a reprieve on 9 when Abhinav Mukund put down a fairly straightforward chance at point, laced his 236-ball knock with 12 boundaries and three huge sixes, while Dwivedi struck 10 fours and one six during his 174-ball stay.

    At stumps, Amit Mishra (30) was the other not out batsman along with Chawla and the duo is still going strong after having already shared 109 runs for the eighth wicket.

    With UP already taking 114 runs first innings lead and just one full day's play remaining, the match is heading for a tame draw.

    Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 171 for five, Prashant Gupta (73) managed to add only 18 runs to his score before he was cleaned up by left-arm orthodox bowler R Aushik Srinivas (3 for 123).

    Tamil Nadu bowling attack looked listless today as they managed to pick up just two wickets in the form of Gupta and Dwivedi in the entire 90 overs.

    Baba Aparajith, who dismissed Dwivedi, was the other wicket taking bowler for Tamil Nadu.

    Brief Scores: Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 297 all out in 107 overs; Uttar Pradesh 1st innings: 411 for seven in 158 overs (Piyush Chawla 114 not out, Eklavya Dwivedi 70; R Aushik Srinivas 3/123)

    Saha scores another half-century as Bengal take 272-run lead

    At Kolkata, Wriddhiman Saha scored his third half-century in as many matches as Bengal crawled to 194 for 8 in their second innings which took their overall lead to 272 against Saurashtra in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter at the Eden Gardens.

    Saha (52) and Anushtup Majumdar (69) added 92 crucial runs for the fifth wicket to provide Bengal with a decent lead by the end of the day.

    With a day's play left, Bengal would hope that their last two wickets atleast consume enough time on the final day in order to snuff out any hopes that Saurashtra will harbour of making a match of it. It will also depend on how well Cheteshwar Pujara bats on the final day and the kind of support he gets.

    Starting the day with an overall lead of 83, Bengal were reduced to 59 for 4 by the 30th over as Saurashtra bowlers Sandeep Maniyar and Abhishek Bhatt were making the ball talk.

    Opener Arindam Das toiled to reach 27 off 82 balls but makeshift opener Sourashis Lahiri (12), young Sandipan Das (1) and regular opener Rohan Banerjee (4) coming in at No 4, were dismissed cheaply.

    Then it was Saha and Majumdar, who came in and batted for more than 31 overs. The time they consumed also became important as it frustrated the Saurashtra bowlers no end.

    Saha faced 141 balls hitting six boundaries while Majumdar had seven hits to the fence in 156-ball knock. Saha was finally removed when he flashed one from medium pacer Chirag Jani to wicketkeeper Sheldon Jackson. Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) also edged one to Jackson behind the stumps.

    Bengal were reduced to 189 for 8 when Bhatt removed Subhomoy Das and Majumdar to grab his third and fourth wickets respectively. The tailenders Ashoke Dinda (0 batting) and Sourav Sarkar (13 batting) then played out the remaining deliveries.

    Brief Scores: Bengal 303 & 194 for 8 (Wriddhiman Saha 52, Anushtup Majumdar 69, Abhishek Bhatt 4 for 47, Chirag Jani 3 for 54); Saurashtra 225