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    Puneet Bisht double negates Irfan seven


    Delhi's Puneet Bisht celebrates his double century against Baroda on Thursday. (PTI)

    New Delhi: A maiden double-century from Delhi's wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht, coupled with two early strikes from fast bowler Parvinder Awana, gave Delhi the upper hand over Baroda on day three at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Thursday.

    Bisht's unbeaten 223 helped Delhi to 415 - a lead of 97 in reply to Baroda's first-innings 318 before Awana helped leave the visitors in trouble at 81 for 4, trailing by 16 with six wickets in hand. Bisht's mammoth effort helped Delhi regroup after in-form allrounder Irfan Pathan extended his bowling form with seven wickets.

    Irfan made Sunny Sehrawat (27) his sixth wicket to leave Delhi 277 for 7 - still 41 adrift of the follow-on - but Bisht and a stubborn Ashish Nehra (23 from 70 balls) combined to produce a 56-run stand for the eighth wicket. Nehra remained at the crease for 101 minutes, thereby allowing Bisht to play his natural game and ensure Delhi attained the lead. With the objective achieved, Bisht went on to reach his maiden double-century, facing 290 balls and hitting 30 fours and two sixes, one of which was off Irfan. The dismissal of Vikas Mishra gave Irfan career-best Ranji figures of 7 for 113.

    It was then over to Awana, who bowled a fiery spell to remove Baroda openers Kedar Devdhar (16) and Aditya Waghmode (8) before Rajat Bhatia (2/12) dismissed Shatrunjay Gaekwad (32) and nightwatchman Swapnil Singh (4). Ambati Rayudu did not bat after sustaining a finger injury in the field, but Baroda team manager Chetan Pawar said scans did not indicate any serious injury and that Rayudu would be able to bat on the final day.

    Brief score: Baroda 318 and 81/4 in 28 overs (Shatrunjay Gaekwad 32; Parvinder Awana 2/25, Rajat Bhatia 2/12) trail Delhi 415 (Punit Bisht 223 not out; Irfan Pathan 7/114) by 16 runs

    Mumbai set for massive win, Zaheer impresses

    In Cuttack, Mumbai were poised for a crushing win over hosts Orissa thanks to another good performance by their bowlers. Mumbai took ten wickets on the third day, enforcing the follow-on in the process, and by stumps were three wickets away from a victory which would push them ahead of Karnataka in the points table.

    From 57 for 7 overnight, Orissa subsided for 93 in 41.2 overs. Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan added a third wicket without exerting himself too much, and in Orissa's second innings bowled just 10 overs - coming on as second change - while conceding 21 runs and taking one wicket.

    Orissa improved from their first innings, but not by much. Only two players crossed 30 - the No. 3 Niranjan Behera (30) and No. 9 Basanth Mohanty (41 not out) - as veteran offspinner Ramesh Powar snared four wickets. Allrounder Abhishek Nayar doubled his season tally with 2 for 22 from 14 overs of medium pace.

    Brief score: Orissa 93 all out in 41.2 overs (Zaheer Khan 3/31) and 163/7 in 45 overs (Basanth Mohanty 41 not out, Niranjan Behera 30; Ramesh Powar 4/41) trail Mumbai 529/3 dec by 273 runs

    Ganguly ton can't prevent Haryana taking lead

    At Rohtak, former India captain Sourav Ganguly's 32nd first-class century - and ninth for Bengal - was the highlight of the day though it was not enough to prevent hosts Haryana from taking the first-innings lead. Ganguly, playing his third match of the season for his state team after pledging his allegiance during the off-season, scored 135 from 178 balls out of a total of 339 in reply to Haryana's 358.

    Bengal lost their overnight batsmen early in the day, but Ganguly and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha - due to tour Australia with India's Test squad - added 119 for the fifth wicket. Saha's dismissal for a measured 33 was followed by wickets at regular intervals but not before Ganguly reached three figures. He was ninth out with Bengal on 333, with Amit Mishta pocketing 4 for 58. By stumps, Haryana had extended their lead to 61 for the loss of first-innings centurion Rahul Dewan, caught behind by Saha off Ashok Dinda.

    Brief score: Haryana 358 and 42/1 in 15 overs lead Bengal 339 in 119.2 overs (Sourav Ganguly 135, Amit Mishra 4/58) by by 61 runs

    Chawla's four condemn Rajasthan to follow-on

    Four wickets from legspinner Piyush Chawla helped Uttar Pradesh bowl out defending champions Rajasthan for 274 in Jaipur, thereby forcing the hosts to follow on. From an overnight 119 for 2, Rajasthan unravelled against Chawla who primarily operated with a steady supply of googlies - he used the legbreak sparingly - and struggled to forge sizeable partnerships. The first wicket to go was overnight batsman Rashmi Ranjan Parida (49), snapping a 110-run third-wicket alliance. Top-scorer Robin Bist (76) was the first to fall to Chawla, out lbw to a googly, and only stand-in captain Ashok Menaria (57) managed any major resistance. His dismissal to Bhuvneshwar Kumar triggered a collapse and Rajasthan were all out for 274.

    In reply, the home side reached 91 for no loss by stumps, with former India opener Aakash Chopra finding form in the tournament with an unbeaten 57 from 89 balls. In the process, the veteran went past the landmark of 10,000 first-class runs, and the moment was celebrated by handshakes from members of the opposition as well as a congratulatory message on the large screen at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Partnering Chopra in that sturdy opening stand was Vineet Saxena with 32 from 91 balls, though Rajasthan still trail by 127 runs and have an uphill task on the final day to save the match.

    Uttar Pradesh, third in the Group A points table, have yet to win a match.

    Brief score: Rajasthan 274 in 103 overs (Robin Bist 76, Ashok Menaria 57, Rashmi Ranjan Parida 49; Piyush Chawla 4/59, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/75) and 91/0 in 30 overs (Aakash Chopra 57 not out, Vineet Saxena 32) trail Uttar Pradesh 492 by 127 runs

    Saurashtra in deep trouble after Chipli century

    In Bangalore, a third first-class century in six years from Bharat Chipli carried table-toppers Karnataka to 503 for 7, after which Saurashtra lost half their side by stumps on day three. Resuming on 66, Chipli - who replaced an injured Manish Pandey in the squad - reached his century and continued to a career-best unbeaten 159 from 194 balls (18 fours, three sixes) before captain Ganesh Satish declared the first innings. Stuart Binny added 30 to his overnight score and was fifth out for 59 at 420 as Sandeep Maniar took the last three wickets to fall. However, Chipli had the final say as he added 73 for the eighth wicket with debutant medium-pacer Santhebennur Akshay (6).

    Facing a stiff challenge, Saurashtra began watchfully. The first wicket, Bhushan Chauhan, fell in the 12th over as Akshay made his presence felt. Chirag Pathak and wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani (30) offered some resistance, but three wickets to offspinner Sunil Raju left Saurashtra trailing by 324 runs. The biggest of those three scalps was Cheteshwar Pujara, making a disappointing return to first class cricket with nine runs. Out of a total of 179 for 5, Chirag contributed 95 before falling in the final session.

    Brief scores: Saurashtra 179/5 in 61 overs (Chirag Pathak 95; Sunil Raju 3/33) trail Bangalore 503 for 7 dec in 128.3 overs (Bharat Chipli 159 not out, Stuart Binny 59; Sandeep Maniar 4/125) by 324 runs

    In-form Gony keeps Punjab in command

    In Mohali, hosts Punjab remained in the driver's seat thanks to fast bowler Manpreety Gony's five-wicket haul. Having batted two full days to reach 366, Punjab snatched the first-innings lead over Railways thanks to Gony’s 5 for 91 and 4 for 54 from Harmeet Singh. The new-ball pair took nine wickets, with Gony extending his season tally to 19, just two behind Irfan Pathan in the Elite Devision.

    In a crippling burst for Railways, Gony grabbed three wickets within the space of one run as the visitors slipped from 73 for 2 to 74 for 5. V Cheluveraj was the first victim, in the 24th over, and Gony struck in his next two overs to remove Yere Goud and Mahesh Rawat for ducks. Harmeet added to Railways' misery by reducing them to 98 for 7. That Railways averted major humiliation was thanks to Sanjay Bangar (82), Ashish Yadav (86) and Krishnakant Upadhayay (32). Bangar put on 113 with Yadav and for the ninth wicket Yadav and Upadhayay - who took seven wickets in Punjab's first innings - added 62; those two partnerships formed 64% of Railways' total.

    Having secured the first-innings lead, Punjab extended that to 144 with six wickets in hand by stumps, recovering from 22 for 3 to reach 51 for 4.

    Brief score: Punjab 366 and 51/4 in 31 overs lead Railways 273 in 84.3 overs (Sanjay Bangar 82, Ashish Yadav 86; Manpreet Gony 5/91, Harmeet Singh 4/54) by 144 runs

    MP eye outright win after TP Sudhindra's six

    At Indore, a six-wicket haul by TP Sudhindra set Madhya Pradesh up for a potential victory over Gujarat. Chasing a target of 198, the hosts were 91 runs away from their target with six wickets in hand.

    Having taken the first-innings lead on day two, basement dwellers MP made a push for their first win of the season thanks to Sudhindra's showing. Having scored a vital 61 in the first innings, Sudhindra was given the new ball and chipped away to help dismiss Gujarat for 272 in their second innings. Pratharesh Parmar's 62 was the highest score of the innings, and the 61 he put on for the seventh wicket with Salil Yadav (35) was the best Gujarat could manage. Mehul Patel took two early wickets in MP's chase, before Ishwar Chaudhary added the important wicket of the skipper Devendra Bundela (37).

    Brief score: Madhya Pradesh 205 and 107/4 in 51 overs (Devendra Bundela 37; Mehul Patel 2/22 ) need another 91 runs to beat Gujarat 130 and 272 in 72.4 overs (Pratharesh Parmar 62; TP Sudhindra 6/60)