Delhi suffered another batting collapse to brighten Punjab's prospects of recording an outright victory in their Ranji Trophy Group B match on Thursday.
At stumps on the second day, Delhi were 106 for six in reply to Punjab's first innings score of 282. The hosts trailed by 69 runs as they were bowled out for a paltry 107 in their first innings.
The opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Hiten Dalal provided Delhi with a solid start, adding 72 runs before the latter was trapped leg before by left-arm spinner Vinay Choudhary.
Two balls later Choudhary claimed the wicket of vice-captain Dhruv Shorey, who was dismissed for a duck.
Seamer Siddarth Kaul, who had a six-wicket haul in the first innings, claimed the wicket of skipper Nitish Rana before Himmat Singh and veteran Gautam Gambhir were dismissed in an over, leaving Delhi struggling at 99 for four.
Earlier, Punjab captain Mandeep Singh picked up from where he had left on Wednesday, scoring 90 runs with the help of eight boundaries.
Punjab had taken a lead of 176 runs by the time they were bowled out for 282. Simarjeet Singh and Vikas Mishra starred with the ball for Delhi, picking up four wickets each.
Delhi 107 & 106/6 (Gambhir 60; Vinay Chaudhary 3/23, Siddarth Kaul 2/35)
Punjab 282 all out.
In the Group A match Mumbai bowlers led by left-arm medium pacer Royston Dias raised the team'S chances of taking the crucial first-innings lead as they reduced Gujarat to 232/8 on the second day.
At stumps, Gujarat still trail by 65 runs and all their hopes are pinned on wicket-keeper Dhruv Raval (60 not out), who showed resistance despite being devoid of partners at the other end.
Mumbai, courtesy all-rounder Shivam Dubey's hundred, had posted 297 in their first essay.
Gujarat openers Kathan Patel (28) and skipper Priyank Panchal (31) added 49 for the first wicket.
But when the two looked set for a big score, Dias broke the stand as Panchal edged to wicket-keeper Aditya Tare.
From then, the Mumbai bowlers did not look back and kept picking wickets at regular intervals on a greenish Wankhede wicket.
Dias (3-52) was the most successful bowler and was ably supported by skipper Dhawal Kulkarni (2-50) and Shivam Dubey (2-45), who had a good time with the ball too.
Part-time bowler Jay Bista also chipped in with one wicket.
Gujarat batsmen, apart from B H Merai (4), got starts but failed to convert them into big scores.
Manprit Juneja (37), Rujul Bhatt (41) and Roosh Kalaria (23) were dismissed when they looked set.
Wicket-keeper Raval, on his part, played a composed knock that eight fours and two sixes.
And he would be keen to take his side ahead with the help of the last two batsmen.
Meanwhile, at Rajkot, Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah led from the front with his 165 as the hosts piled up 521 on the board in their first-innings.
In reply, Baroda were 10/0 and have a mountain to climb.
At Raipur, Faiz Fazal struck a half century as Vidarbha ended the day on 119/3 as they trail hosts Chhattisgarh by 113 runs.
At Mysuru, Karnataka managed to take the crucial first innings lead against Maharashtra. They reduced the visitors to 48/3 in the second essay as Maharashtra are still 25 runs adrift.
Brief scores: At Mumbai: Mumbai 297 all out versus Gujarat 232/8 (Dhruv Raval 60 not out, Manprit Juneja 37, Royston Dias 3-52) Gujarat trail by 65 runs.
At Raipur: Chhattisgarh 232 all out (Manoj Singh 77 not out, Aditya Thakare 5-56) versus Vidarbha 119/3 ( Faiz Fazal 53, Onkar Verma 2-33). Vidarbha trail by 113 runs.
At Rajkot: Saurashtra 521 (Jaydev Shah 165, Aarpit Vasavada 120, Atit Sheth 3-74) versus Baroda 10/0. Baroda trail by 511 runs.
In the other group B match Tamil Nadu gained the upperhand, securing a 74-run first innings lead against Bengal on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Elite at the M A Chidambaram stadim here Thursday.
After ending their first innings at 263 all out, built on Baba Aparajith's superb knock of 103, Tamil Nadu struck back with medium pacer M Mohammed (4 for 39) and spinner Rahil Shah (5 for 46) ripping through the visitor's batting line up to bowl it out for 189 in 65.5 overs.
At close, the hosts were 12 for 1 at stumps, an overall lead of 86 runs.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu resuming at overnight 218 for 7 added 45 runs with Aparajith reaching the well-deserved ton.
His 273-ball knock studded with eight fours and a six ended when he holed out to Manoj Tiwari of Pradipto Pramanik's bowling.
The eighth wicket partnership between Aparajith and M Mohammed (24, 66 balls) yielded 64 runs and enabled Tamil Nadu push the total past the 250 mark.
Aparajith, who came in at No.3, was the ninth batsman to be dismissed.
For Bengal, young paceman Ishan Porel, who struck Vital blows, emerged the best bowler with 5 for 48.
In reply, Bengal suffered two early jolts as the impressive Mohammed sent back Kousik Ghosh (2) and Sudip Chaterjee (0) with just eight runs on the board.
Things got worse in the 6th over when Mohammed got skipper Tiwari caught by Abhinav Mukund for a duck and Bengal were reeling at 11 for 3.
Left-handed opener Abhishek Kumar Raman (98, 173 balls, 10X4, 1X6) waged a lone valiant battle.
He negotiated the spin and pace with equal felicity and was the ninth batsman to be dismissed.
Rahil Shah, who has had a fluctuating performance before this match, came into his own on the sluggish Chepauk surface to pick a five-wicket haul.
His victims included Abhishek Raman apart from Anustup Majumdar (16).
Tamil Nadu began their second innings with the aim of tightening its grip on the match but lost the experienced Mukund early as he was castled by veteran Ashoke Dinda for 2.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 263 all out in 106 overs (B Aparajith 103, M Kaushik Gandhi 51, Ishan Porel 5 for 48, Pradipta Pramanik 3 for 82) vs Bengal 189 all out in 63.5 overs (Abhishek Raman 98, Rahil Shah 5 for 46, M Mohammed 4 for 39).
At Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala 62 and 38 for 4 in 12 overs vs Madhya Pradesh 328 all out in 120 overs (Rajat Patidar 73, Naman Ojha 79, Jalaj Saxena 4 for 120).
At Hyderabad: Himachal Pradesh 351 all out in 126.4 overs (P S Chopra 110, M J Dagar 61, Tanay Thyagarajan 4 for 86) vs Hyderabad 146 for 1 in 51 overs (Akshat Reddy 86 batting).
In the group C match Rajasthan pacers rose to the occasion and put up a spirited performance as they reduced Uttar Pradesh to 146/7 on the second day.
In search of their fourth win on the trot, Aniket Choudhary (4-34) and Tanvir Mashrat Ul-Haq (3-39) wreaked havoc on the Uttar Pradesh batsmen as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals.
Choudhary, a left-arm medium pacer, ran through the UP top-order as the hosts were reduced to 36-4 at one time.
Experienced campaigner Suresh Raina (33) and Rinku Singh then tried to steady the ship as they helped their side pass the 100-run mark.
But then Haq bowled Raina to break their fledgling resistance. Haq also sent Rinku Singh and Saurabh Kumar back to the pavilion.
At stumps, Upendra Yadav (21 not out) and Shivam Mavi (9 not out) held fort as the hosts still trailed Rajasthan by 165 runs.
Earlier, Rajasthan rode on Robin Bist's valiant 96 and equally effective 93 by opener Amitkumar Gautam to post a competitive 311/9 in their first innings.
Bist, who retired hurt on 68 Wednesday, resumed his innings Thursday, and added 28 runs to his overnight tally. But the batsman again retired hurt Thursday.
Meanwhile, Assam are in sight of an outright win after they bundled out Haryana for a paltry 97 in the first innings and reduced them to 78/7 on follow-on in the second essay after putting a respectable 310 in their first innings.
For Assam, right-arm medium Arup Das has picked up nine wickets in the match so far.
At Porvorim, Jharkhand trailed Goa by 217 runs, while at Palam in New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir skipper Parvez Rasool claimed 8 wickets as Services were bundled out for 252 in their first innings.
Rasool was unbeaten on 53 in J&K's second innings, but his side still trailed by 42 runs.
Brief scores: At Kanpur:Rajasthan 311/9 (Robin Bist 96 retired hurt, A V Gautam 93, Ankit Rajpoot 5-61) versus Uttar Pradesh 146/7(Suresh Raina 33, Rinku Singh 31, Aniket Choudhary 4-34). Uttar Pradesh trail by 165 runs.
At Guwahati: Assam 310 (Gokul Sharma 96, Sibsankar Roy 49) verses Haryana 97 (Jayant Yadav 30, Arup Das 5-52) and 78/7 (Chaitanya Bishnoi 39 not out, Arup Das 4-23). Haryana trail by 135 runs.
At Cuttack: Odisha 212 (Biplab Samantaray 89, Subransu Senapati 41, A K Sarkar 3-33) versus Tripura 122 and 130/5 (B B Ghosh 48, Rajesh Mohanty 3-42). Tripura lead by 40 runs.
At New Delhi (Palam): Jammu and Kashmir 95 and 115/6 (Parvez Rasool 53 not out, Diwesh Pathania 3-24) versus Services 252 (Aanshul Gupta 59, Navneet Singh 58, Parvez Rasool 8-85). Jammu and Kashmir trail by 42 runs.
At Porvorim: Goa 364 (Amit Verma 154, Sumiran Amonkar 95; Ashish Kumar 3-71) versus Jharkhand 147/2 (Nazim Siddiqui 71, Saurabh Tiwary 39 not out).