Ranji Trophy: Madhya Pradesh on course for outright win against Punjab

Madhya Pradesh looked on course for an outright victory after pacers shared all wickets among themselves and enforce follow-on on table toppers Punjab in their Group A Ranji Trophy match here today.

After being bowled out for 148 in their first innings that gave Madhya Pradesh a substantial lead, the visitors were 11 without loss at the close of play on the second day.

Test discard Yuvraj Singh top scored for Punjab with 39 while skipper Mandeep Singh also chipped in with a useful 33 as none of the other recognised batsmen applied themselves.

Ahead of a gruelling third day's play, Punjab trailed Madhya Pradesh by 164 runs with all their wickets intact.

Earlier, resuming the day at 281 for five, Madhya Pradesh skipper Devendra Bundela struck his 22nd first-class ton as the hosts' first innings folded at 323.

Madhya Pradesh lost their last five wickets for 26 runs as Punjab pacers Sandeep Sharma and Amitoze Singh ran through the middle and lower order in the morning session.

Sharma, who had picked up three wickets yesterday, finished with an impressive figures of 5 for 92 while Amitoze (3/64) and Baltez Singh (2/59) shared the remaining spoils.

In reply, Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals to lend Madhya Pradesh the upper hand. The start was disastrous as Punjab lost openers Karan Goel and Jiwanjot Singh for the addition of just 18 runs.

Next man-in, Ravi Inder Singh (18) fell to Amarjeet Singh as Punjab were left reeling at 49 for three.

Mandeep then joined hands with Yuvraj in the middle and the two began a repair job. Both added 42 runs for the fourth wicket before Yuvraj was caught by Harpreet off Gaurav Yadav.

The left-handed batsman struck seven fours in his 47-ball vigil at the crease.

Punjab never recovered from there on and lost their remaining six wickets for the addition of 57 runs.

... contd.

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