Ranji Trophy: UP consolidates lead to 349 against Saurashtra

Uttar Pradesh was 172 for eight at stumps on day three, albeit it had taken its second-innings lead to 349.

Cheteshwar Pujara will have a big role to play in Saurashtra's second innings, with it expected to chase a big fourth-innings total.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Uttar Pradesh batsmen fluffed their lines in the second essay but its first-innings performance put it in the box seat with lead swelling to 349 against Saurashtra at the end of the third day’s play in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

Having scored 385 in its first innings, Uttar Pradesh removed Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply on the second day and mopped the tail on the third morning for 208 to take a substantial 177-run lead.

Seamer Ankit Rajpoot (three for 71), left-arm medium pacer Yash Dayal (four for 55) and fast bowler Shivam Mavi (three for 40) shared the spoils at the Ekana Stadium.

As it happened

The second innings, however, didn’t go to plan with UP finishing third day’s play at 172 for eight but the overall lead will give it confidence despite Pujara's presence in the opposition ranks.

Mohammed Saif’s top-scored with 48 while first-innings hero Rinku Singh was out without troubling the scorers.

Left-arm spinner Dharmendra Jadeja (four for 53) and left-arm military medium Chetan Sakariya (three for 29) did bulk of the damage while veteran off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana picked up the other wicket.

A target of more than 350 in the fourth innings will be a challenge but with Pujara in the Saurashtra ranks, Uttar Pradesh is likely to have its guard up till it dismisses hero of India’s Test series win in Australia.

Brief Scores

UP 385 and 172/8 (Mohd Saif 48, Dharmendra Jadeja 4/53) leads Saurashtra 208 (Harvik Desai 84, Shivam Mavi 3/40) by 349 runs.