JAMMU – Andhra thumped Jammu & Kashmir by an innings to get their first win of the season and jump to second place, with 14 points. J&K began the day on 13/0, trailing by 224 runs, and started losing wickets regularly – the highest partnership among the first five wickets was 22. The top-order failure left them realistically hoping only to avoid an innings defeat. Their captain Ian Dev Singh and Aditya Singh put on 63 for the sixth wicket – the biggest stand of the innings – and there were 40s from tailenders Ram Dayal and Shail Sharma, but it wasn’t enough to make Andhra bat again. The wickets were shared by Andhra spearhead P Vijaykumar, the left-arm quick Atchuta Rao and offspinner Shaik Basha, who took three each.
Services upset table-toppers Assam by ten wickets at the Palam Sports Complex in Delhi, and moved up to 14 points, equal on points with Andhra in second place. Medium-pacer Shadab Nazar took a six-for for the second match in the row to bowl out Assam for a paltry 170 in the second innings. The main resistance came from middle-order batsman Tarjinder Singh, who made a half-century but couldn’t prevent Assam from being bowled out in 60 overs. Assam’s batting mainstay Dheeraj Jadhav was dismissed cheaply for the second time in the match, after which the top order crumbled. Services were left with the straightforward target of 27 to win, a total they reached without losing any wicket to secure the maximum seven points.
Allrounder Rishi Dhawan hit his second century of the season to put Himachal in control of their match against Jharkand. Dhawan, who is one of the top wicket-takers this season with 22, top scored with 128 to ensure Himachal didn’t waste the strong start provided by their openers on Sunday. He was helped by half-centuries from Amit Kumar and Aatish Balaik, and they extended Himachal’s lead to over 200. That left Jharkhand needing to bat out about 100 overs to save the game, and the maximum likely reward for that will be just one point.
Goa slowly but surely pressed their advantage against Kerala on the third day at Malappuram. In a slow-scoring day where Kerala moved along at little more than two runs an over, none of their batsmen could make the big hundred that needed to be the backbone of the reply if they were to overhaul Goa’s 512. With the game descending to a first-innings shootout, opener Abhishek Hegde extended his good run with an 80, but with no one else making a half-century Kerala regularly lost wickets to slip to 249 for 6. They are still not even halfway to Goa’s total, and unless their lower order miraculously bats out the final day, Kerala will have to be satisfied with one point.
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