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    Ranji Trophy, Group C: Samson continues his good form; HP's Malik grabs a five-for

    Kannur: Kerala's Sanju Samson continued his impressive start to the Ranji Trophy season as he smashed his second century of the tournament against Andhra to lift his side to 236 for 4 in their Group C match on Thursday.

    After hosts elected to bat, Samson, who hit a scintillating 211 against Assam in the season opener, stroked a brilliant 115 off 281 balls while wicketkeeper Nikhilesh Surendran scored 66 in 121 deliveries to set up a platform for a imposing first innings total.

    Samson's fourth first-class century was laced with 12 boundaries and two sixes and the 18-year-old shared important partnerships with opener Surendran and Robert Fernandez of 111 and 95 runs respectively.

    Samson was dismissed by left-arm spinner G Shankara Rao (1 for 72) while DP Vijaykumar bagged two for 34 in his 16 overs. Fernandez (39) remained unbeaten alongside skipper Sachin Baby (2) at the end of first day's play at Conor Vayal Stadium here.

    In another Group C match in Agartala, splendid bowling from Himachal Pradesh pacers Vikramjeet Malik (5 for 37) and Rishi Dhawan (4 for 32) saw Tripura bowled out for meagre 141 on the opening day. The new ball pair of Malik and Dhawan wrecked Tripura's batting order at regular intervals stamping their skipper's decision to bowl first at Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium.

    The duo bowled a stifling line and length giving away just 69 runs in the 41.3 overs between them, including 22 maidens.

    Right-handed batsman Abhijit Dey showed some resolve as he made 66 off 194 deliveries on a pitch Tripura batsmen found the going tough. Opener KB Pawan (22) was the second-best scorer and was involved in a 39-run partnership for the second wicket - the highest for them. Dey's half-century knock comprised of 13 fours.

    Himachal, in reply, were 26 for one - 115 runs behind - at the close of play with opener Prashant Chopra (13) and Paras Dogra (3) still at the crease.
    Sangram Singh (9) was the only wicket to fall for the visitors, who was dismissed by pacer Manisankar Murasingh.

    Meanwhile at Guwahati, Sibsankar Roy (85 not out) hit a patient half-century to guide Assam to 181 for 5 against Hyderabad in a Group C match.

    Offspinner Amol Shinde impressed with the ball as he claimed 3 for 49 in 32 overs, including two in the penultimate over of the day. Sinde first cleaned up Niraj Patel (12) and then got nightwatchman Arlen Konwar caught off the next ball in the 89 over to dent Assam's batting effort.

    Earlier, Roy shared a 91-run stand with Tarjinder Singh (41) for the third wicket after Dheeraj Yadav (5) and Pallavkumar Das (31) got out early. The left-hander took 229 balls for his 85 and hit 12 fours, while Tarjinder, who was run out, had four boundaries in his brief knock. Allrounder T Suman (1 for 4) picked up the wicket of Das.

    In Srinagar, wicketkeeper Keenan Vaz (99) missed out on his maiden first-class century as Goa ended day one on 281 for eight against Jammu & Kashmir in a Group C encounter. Amogh Desai (71 off 143) too scored a half-century and resurrected the Goan innings in company of Ravikant Shukla (39) and Vaz after a top-order collapse.

    Electing to bat, Goa were reduced to 21 for 3 by pacers Samiullah Beigh (2 for 45) and Ram Dayal (3 for 66). Desai shared useful stands of 59 and 87 with Shukla and Vaz for the next two wickets to overcome initial hiccups.

    Desai innings contained 10 fours and a six while Vaz's fluent knock had 15 boundaries and came of 141 balls. Allrounder Pervez Rasool scalped two wickets and medium pacer Mohammed Mudhasir got one batsman out. Sourabh Bandekar (39) and Harshad Gadekar (13) were batting for Goa when the stumps were drawn.