Mumbai on top vs Kerala, aiming third successive win

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Thumba (Kerala), Jan 21 (PTI) Mumbai dished out a dominant batting display, with openers Jay Bista and Bhupen Lalwani notching up half centuries to put them on top against Kerala on the third day of their Group B Ranji Trophy match here on Sunday.

Having taken a slender first innings lead of seven runs, Mumbai posted a formidable 319 in their second essay to set the home side an imposing target of 327 runs.

Kerala were 24 for no loss at close on day three as they face a daunting task, needing to showcase exceptional batting prowess to salvage a draw or secure an unlikely win.

Mumbai thus remained on the brink of securing their third successive outright win of the season.

Resuming on 105 for no loss, Lalwani (88) and Bista (73) continued their overnight partnership to post respective fifties.

MD Nidheesh (2/59) broke the opening stand of 148 before Lalwani got in a mini partnership with veteran India batter Ajinkya Rahane who played with a patient and cautious approach.

But, the Mumbai skipper could not convert his start and managed to score only 16 runs from 65 balls before falling to Jalaj Saxena (4/80).

The Kerala bowlers, despite their efforts, struggled to break Mumbai's resilience. Shreyas Gopal returned with four wickets.

Prasad Pawar (35), Shams Mulani (30) and No. 9 Mohit Avasthi (32) also made valuable contributions, propelling Mumbai to a formidable total of 319.

Andhra eyeing win vs Assam ===================== In Dibrugarh, Andhra rode on Ricky Bhui's captain's knock of 125 to take a firm grip against hosts Assam and inch closer to their first win of the season.

Despite a resilient 46 not out from skipper Riyan Parag, Assam found themselves precariously positioned at 81/5 at the end of the third day while chasing a stiff 363.

Girinath Reddy (3/35) and Lalith Mohan (2/33) did the damage for Andhra.

In the second innings, Andhra's batters showcased their prowess, as Bhui hit his 16th first class century to take them to a substantial 334.

Despite Sidharth Sarmah's five-wicket haul, Andhra established an imposing total with Hanuma Vihar (63) and Shaik Rasheed (40 not out) also contributing handsomely.

Andhra's victory seems imminent, with Assam requiring a Herculean effort to salvage a draw on the final day.

Chhattisgarh struggle in overcast Kolkata ============================= Chhattisgarh were reduced to 27/2 under overcast conditions and bad light as only nine overs of play were possible in their match against Bengal at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Bengal made an overnight declaration of their first innings for 381/8.

Brief Scores In Thumba: Mumbai 251 and 319 in 97.4 overs (Bhupen Lalwani 88, Jay Bista 73; Jalaj Saxena 4/80, Shreyas Gopal 4/82) vs Kerala 244 and 24 for no loss in 6 overs.

In Dibrugarh: Andhra 188 and 334 in 90 overs (Ricky Bhui 125, Shaik Rasheed 40 not out; Sidharth Sarmah 5/66) vs Assam 160 and 81/5 in 24 overs (Riyan Parag 46 batting; Girinath Reddy 3/35, Lalith Mohan 2/33).

In Kolkata: Bengal 381/8 declared vs Chhattisgarh 27/2 in 9 overs.

In Meerut: Bihar 187/7 in 79.1 overs (Sharman Nigrodh 87, Sakibul Gani 41) vs Uttar Pradesh. PTI TAP PDS PDS

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