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    Ranji Trophy: Tendulkar stands firm as Mumbai-Haryana match hangs in the balance

    Lahli: Sachin Tendulkar warmed up for his farewell series against the West Indies next month with a gritty unbeaten half-century to keep Mumbai's chances alive in their Ranji Trophy match against a spirited Haryana on Tuesday.

    Featuring in his last Ranji Trophy innings, Tendulkar played the lone-ranger as he remained not out on a patient 55 at stumps on the third day, with Mumbai, set a target of 240, needing another 39 runs to win with four wickets in hand. The 40-time defending champions were 201 for six at close of day, with Dhawal Kulkarni giving Tendulkar company on six.

    Resuming at 224 for 9, Haryana were all bowled out for 241 earlier in the day. After that Tendulkar held centre stage by showing signs of regaining his form, much to the delight of the packed crowd who had been awaiting his arrival at the crease with bated breath.

    The champion batsman, who will walk into sunset after playing his landmark 200th Test against the West Indies next month, decorated his innings with four hits to the fence while facing 122 balls. One shot that brought back the days of yore was the cracker of a cover drive Tendulkar produced off pacer Ashish Hooda, attracting huge cheers from the packed crowd.

    Tendulkar, who was dismissed for five in the first innings, got to his 50 when he flicked Joginder Sharma for two through the vacant square leg region, bringing the crowd to its feet.

    In the morning, Mumbai took less than three overs to dismiss Harshal Patel and bring to an end Haryana's second innings. Before holing out to Dhawal Kulkarni off his own bowling, Patel had smashed his way to 33 invaluable runs that helped in swelling the hosts' lead.

    Mumbai's chase started on a disastrous note as they lost Ranji Trophy's most prolific scorer, Wasim Jaffer, in the second over as he played away from his body to edge an outswinger to wicketkeeper Nitin Saini.

    An 86-run partnership ensued for the second wicket between Ajinkya Rahane and Kaustabh Pawar. Mumbai's top-scorer in the first innings, Rahane contributed 40 this time around, and his knock included four hits to fence before he was shown the door by offspinner Jayant Yadav who bowled the batsman with a ball that did not turn ass much as his previous delivery.

    Rahane's departure, with Mumbai at 87 for 2, once again brought the packed crowd to its feet as it signalled the arrival of Tendulkar into the crease. Around 6000 spectators had since morning trooped into the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium, hoping to see their favourite cricketer produce a special knock.

    A wicket was to follow soon as Pawar, after grinding his way to a laborious 47 off 136 balls, fell to the perseverance of Sharma who surprised the batsman with a back of a length delivery that moved in a bit on landing for Saini to taking a diving one-handed low catch.

    Patiently waiting for the bad deliveries, Tendulkar got the into the groove when he found one as cut a Patel's short and wide ball past backward point for a four.

    Tendulkar along with Abhishek Nayar tried to stabilise the innings but Ashish Hooda, bowling from the pavilion end, provided a breakthrough as the young batsman, who took a big stride forward, could not connect with the ball that straightened a bit on landing. Mumbai needed 80 runs with six wickets remaining, when Nayar got out.

    After his exploits with the bat, Patel ran out Aditya Tara with a direct throw from deep midwicket boundary. Next man-in Hiken Shah relieved the pressure by cutting Patel over gully, but fell while trying to loft Sharma over mid-off.

    Gujarat post an innings and one-run win over Vidarbha

    At Nagpur: A dominant Gujarat rode on Rakesh Dhruv's five-wicket haul, which included a hat-trick, to register an easy innings and one-run victory over Vidarbha in a Group A Ranji Trophy match on Tuesday.

    Vidarbha, trailing Gujarat by 219 runs in the first innings, were shot out for 218 in their second essay on the third and penultimate day at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground.

    Left-arm spinner Dhruv spun a web around the Vidarbha batsmen as he snapped up 5 for 21. A hat-trick in the end, which removed the tail - Shrikant Wagh (2), Umesh Yadav (0) and Sandeep Singh (0) - sparked off celebrations in the Gujarat dressing room. Besides Dhruv, Jasprit Bumrah chipped in with 3 for 59, while Jesal Karia finished with 1 for 35.

    Gujarat, who had bundled out Vidarbha for a paltry 85 in their first innings and then went on to score 304, maintained an upper hand on Tuesday as well to wrap up the match in style.

    Brief scores: Vidarbha: 85 & 218 all out (Faiz Fazal 77, Shalabh Shrivastava 56; Rakesh Dhruv 5/21) vs Gujarat: 304

    Punjab take upper hand against Odisha

    At Mohali: Riding on a fine batting display, Punjab posted a massive 560 for 6 declared before reducing Odisha to 110 for 2 in their second innings at the end of the third day's play in their Group A Ranji Trophy match on Tuesday.

    After bundling out Odisha for 205 in their first innings, Punjab managed to take a 355-run lead. The visitors now need 245 more run with eight wickets remaining to avoid innings defeat.

    At stumps on day three, Niranjan Behera was batting on 42 and Govind Podder was unbeaten on 52.

    Resuming at 306 for 2, both the overnight centurions - Taruwar Kohli and Mandeep Singh - gave a great start to the hosts by adding 35 and 59 runs respectively to their individual score.

    Brief Scores: Odisha: 205 & 110 for 2 (Niranjan Behera batting 42, Govind Podder batting 52)

    Punjab: 560 for six decl (Mandeep Singh 175, Taruwar Kohli 144, Amitoze Singh not out 56)