© BCCI

Manan Vohra and Yuvraj Singh added 314 unbroken runs for the third wicket to give Punjab the advantage over Baroda. © BCCI

Manan Vohra and Yuvraj Singh scored big in an unbroken 314-run stand as Punjab got to within 77 runs of Baroda’s first-innings total after day three of their Ranji Trophy 2016-17 Group A match on Saturday (October 29).

Elsewhere, Bengal and Railways were engaged in a fierce battle, with honours even and an outright result very much in the offing, Gujarat got into a good position against Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu had Madhya Pradesh by the scruff of their neck.

Baroda v Punjab in New Delhi
An unbeaten 201 from Manan Vohra and Yuvraj Singh’s 179 not out took Punjab to 452 for 2, within sniffing distance of Baroda’s strong first-innings effort of 529, and gave them a great shot at taking home three points from a match unlikely to end in an outright result at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

When the day began, Punjab had 121 for 1 on the board, Vohra and Uday Kaul in the middle, and many runs staring them in the face after Deepak Hooda’s 293 not out had left Baroda the happier team when play ended on day two. It didn’t start well for Punjab, as Munaf Patel sent back Kaul for 42 in the sixth over of the morning. But then, for the remaining 79.1 overs, it was one-way traffic as Vohra and Yuvraj ticked off milestones for themselves and for their team, adding 314 runs by the time stumps were drawn to bring a temporary end to Baroda’s misery.

It was the 23-year-old Vohra’s first double-century at the first-class level and comfortably went past his previous best of 187, scored against Jharkhand in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy. For Yuvraj, it was the second big century of the season after his 177 against Madhya Pradesh in the second round.

Baroda used as many as seven bowlers, largely unsuccessfully, as Vohra hit 17 fours and two sixes, and Yuvraj sent 23 balls to the fence, the pair scoring the runs at a decent clip for most part of the day.

Bengal v Railways in Dharamsala
Across at the HPCA Stadium, an outright result was very much on the cards, and both Bengal and Railways were in with a chance. At stumps on day three, Railways were 196 for 5 in their second innings, still 119 shy of victory.

Play began on the third day with Bengal at 208 for 9 in their second innings, and they were bowled out after adding just six runs to that tally, Karan Thakur picking up his fourth wicket when he sent back Pankaj Shaw for 25.

That set Railways a steep target of 315. Seeing that they had scored just 105 in their first innings, with Ashok Dinda returning 5 for 45, Bengal would have had the edge at that stage. But led by half-centuries from Shivakant Shukla (83) and Arindam Ghosh (51), Railways replied spiritedly. The loss of the top order, triggered by Amit Kulia (3 for 42) and Sayan Ghosh (2 for 52), however, might hurt them even though Mahesh Rawat and Karn Sharma, both capable batsmen, were unbeaten on 23 and 13 respectively at the close.

Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh in New Delhi
When Uttar Pradesh started the day at 147 for 4 in reply to Gujarat’s 347, they would have entertained hopes of getting a first-innings lead. But all they managed was 241, giving Gujarat a lead of 106, which they stretched to 293, having reached 187 for 5 in their second innings, by stumps.

In the morning, with Mohammad Saif not adding to his overnight score of 4 and Eklavya Dwivedi, the captain, getting from 20 to 28 before being dismissed, it all turned pear-shaped for Uttar Pradesh pretty quickly.

Hardik Patel added one more wicket to his three from the second day to end with 4 for 71, while Rush Kalaria ended with 3 for 40 and Karan Patel 2 for 21.

In Gujarat’s second dig, Samit Gohel (50) and Priyank Panchal (35), the openers, put together 86 runs, and after they fell, there were good hands from Bhargav Merai (36) and Manprit Juneja (34 not out). Kuldeep Yadav was the best of the UP bowlers on show, returning 3 for 69 when the teams returned to their dressing rooms.

Tamil Nadu v Madhya Pradesh in Cuttack
Tamil Nadu got into a strong position at DRIEMS ground after reducing Madhya Pradesh to 261 for 7 in reply to their 555 for 7 declared.