Punjab 57 for 1 (Jiwanjot 40*) trail Chhattisgarh 238 (Vishal 76, Saxena 52, Ruikar 50, Gony 4-41) by 181 runs
A brutal new-ball spell from Manpreet Gony reduced Chhattisgarh to 35 for 5 – their run-rate was barely over 1 – but the lower order mounted a fine rearguard to lift the total up to a comparatively respectable 238 in Raipur.
Vishal Kushwah, coming in at No. 9 in his third first-class match, top scored with 76 off only 93 deliveries. Equally aggressive was the No. 7 Jatin Saxena, whose 52 came off 59 balls. The No. 8 batsman Sumit Ruikar ensured there was a hat-trick of fifties on the scorecard, and he was the last man dismissed for an even 50.
Until their efforts, Punjab looked unstoppable. Gony (4-41) and Sandeep Sharma (2-41) dismissed the Chhattisgarh openers for ducks and ensured none of the top five batsmen got past a score of 15. Left-arm spinner Vinay Chaudhary (3-56) finally broke through the lower-order resistance, dismissing two of the three half-centurions.
Perhaps wanting to stamp their dominance, Punjab captain Jiwanjot Singh came out swinging when it was their turn to bat, scoring 40 off only 44 balls and remaining unbeaten when stumps was called.
Bengal 306 for 5 (Raman 176, Tiwary 78*) v Himachal Pradesh
A hefty maiden first-class hundred from Abhishek Raman was the highlight of the first day’s play at Eden Gardens, where Bengal made 306 for 5 against Himachal Pradesh. Raman was out in the sixth over before stumps after smashing 176 off 242 balls, with 29 fours peppering his innings.
Raman’s dismissal ended a 163-run fourth-wicket stand with Manoj Tiwary, and was followed by that of Wriddhiman Saha in the final over of the day, ensuring Himachal went to stumps not entirely displeased with their day’s work. Tiwary, batting on 78 (132b, 8×4, 1×6), will hold the key to Bengal’s hopes of a big total.
An unbeaten hundred from Faiz Fazal led Vidarbha to a solid 259 for 3 against Services at the old VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Fazal batted right through the day’s play, and went to stumps on 128, having faced 256 balls and hit 12 fours and three sixes.
Having chosen to bat, Vidarbha didn’t lose a wicket until the 50th over of the day, when Muzzaffaruddin Khalid dismissed Sanjay Ramaswamy for a 146-ball 55. By then, the two openers had added 148. Services would only take two more wickets all day, with Fazal holding fort at one end while adding 43 for the second wicket with Wasim Jaffer, 36 for the third with Siddhesh Wath, and an unbroken 32 for the fourth with Ganesh Satish.