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    Ranji Trophy: Parida century gives Rajasthan lead

    Jaipur: Riding on the century by Rashmi Ranjan Parida, Rajasthan reached 306 for 6 at stumps, taking the first innings lead and ensuring at least three points on day two of their Ranji Trophy Group A game against Madhya Pradesh here on Sunday.Parida, 35, hit 13 fours and a six in his 178-ball knock and strung useful partnerships with with Robin Bist (85), Puneet Yadav (32) and Dishant Yagnik (21*). At stumps, the hosts were 50 runs ahead of the visitors’ first innings total of 256.The classical batting was on display as both Parida and Bist played an array of drives on both sides of the wicket. Bist flicked Ishwar Pandey to the midwicket fence for the day's first boundary.Bist got a life on 13 when Udit Birla dived to his right but couldn't hold on to a tough chance off Ishwar. The right-hander made full use of the reprieve as he drove Amarjeet Singh through covers, and then played a copy-book drive in the on side.Vineet Saxena (32), the other overnight not out batsman, too looked in fine touch, beginning the day with three boundaries. But when it seemed that the two batsmen would take Rajasthan safely to lunch, Pandey provided MP double breakthroughs. He first trapped Saxena leg before wicket and then got Ashok Menaria (4) caught behind the wickets.Parida began his innings with a couple of boundaries through covers and midwicket. Bist, meanwhile, glided one to fine leg for his fifty. The duo took Rajasthan to 115 for 3 at lunch as the hosts added 108 runs in the morning session.Bundela started the new session with Ishwar, who had taken all three wickets to fall by then, and Jalaj Saxena, the offspinner, after the break. Both Parida and Bist continued their fluent touch before the latter was given out, caught down the leg side. The right-hander went back to the pavilion disappointed without acknowledging his team-mates or the crowd present at the KL Saini Stadium.Puneet Yadav, who has replaced regular skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar for this match, played with aggression, scoring six boundaries as the home side went into tea at 212 for 4, with Parida batting on 46, while Puneet unbeaten on 30.Puneet got out straight after the break, giving a simple catch to short-leg fielder, Anand Singh, off Jalaj. But Parida kept himself focused, hitting the first six of the match, a straight hit to left-arm orthodox Rameez Khan, taking his side to MP's first innings total. The former Orissa and Assam player got to his 16th first-class century by taking a single to mid-off.But his wicket, lbw by Ishwar - the fourth wicket of the medium pacer, in the second last over of the day could have dented Rajasthan's hope of taking a sizeable lead going into the third day.