Nagpur: Gujarat opener Priyank Panchal's dream season in first-class cricket just got better as his unbeaten 144 enabled Gujarat to reach a comfortable 283 for 3 against Jharkhand on the first day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final on Sunday.
Panchal and skipper Parthiv Patel's 62 were the two significant contributions after Gujarat won the toss.
The day certainly belonged to Panchal, who again showed fantastic temperament during his 252-ball undefeated knock that had 21 boundaries.
He blended caution with occasional aggression adding 139 runs for the third wicket with Parthiv, whose 62 had six fours and a six.
Panchal now has scored five centuries in the current season and his accumulated runs in the national championship has swelled to 1264 runs already with a staggering average of 114.90.
Gujarat started cautiously with world record holder Samit Gohil once again playing his defensive game as he crawled to 18 off 52 balls before seamer Vikash Singh removed him caught by Virat Singh.
Panchal remain unfazed as his 50 came off 72 balls. he got good support from Bharghav Merai (39). Merai hit six boundaries in 66 balls as he and Panchal added 65 runs for the second wicket.
Once Merai edged a Vikash delivery to Ishan Kishan behind the stumps, skipper Parthiv joined Panchal with a lot of positive intent.
It was the 173rd delivery and just at the stroke of tea that Panchal struck a boundary to complete his 10th hundred in first-class cricket.
Gujarat went into the tea at 192 for 2 and scored 91 runs in the final session even though Parthiv was well set. It was Kaushal Singh delivery that trapped him leg before as the ball straightened after pitching.
Former India A and Delhi Daredevils player Manprit Juneja (12) is at the crease alongside Panchal as Gujarat would be looking at a first innings total in excess of 450 to put pressure on Jharkhand. Vikash with 2/48 in 13 overs was the most successful bowler for Jharkhand.
Brief Scores: Gujarat 283/3 in 88 overs (Priyank Panchal 144 batting, Parthiv Patel 62, Vikash Singh 2/48).