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Punjab thrash Odisha by an innings and 48 runs in Ranji trophy

After bundling out Odisha for 205 in their first innings, Punjab had posted a mammoth 560 for six declared. Resuming at 110 for two in their second innings, Odisha needed 245 more runs to make Punjab bat again but skipper Harbhajan Singh led a disciplined bowling attack with a three-wicket haul to scuttle the visitors' plans.

While Harbhajan returned with figures of three for 83 in 25.4 overs, Siddarth Kaul and Manpreet Gony took two wickets each, while Sandeep Sharma, who had scalped the two Odisha openers yesterday, added another wicket to his kitty. Harbhajan's total nine-wicket haul in the match will hold him in good stead when the selectors meet to pick the squad for the two-match Test series against the West Indies to be played next month.

Overnight batsman Niranjan Behera was the first to be dismissed today when Kaul cleaned up the one down batsman. His 113-ball 56 was studded with eight boundaries. Two overs later, Govind Podder who started the day at 52, also was sent back to the pavilion by Gony with Uday Kaul taking the catch behind the stumps as Odisha slipped to 147 for four in 43.2 overs.

Abhilash Mallick then steadied the innings and tried to anchor the fightback with a 116-ball 73, which included five fours and a six. However, Abhilash could not find an able partner to lead the fightback as apart from Basant Mohanty (41) and Halhadar Das (16), none of the batsmen could reach the double-figure mark as Odisha were dismissed in 91.4 overs. Brief Scores: Odisha: 205 & 307 all out in 91. 4 overs (Abhilash Mallick 73; Harbhajan Singh 3/83). Punjab 1st innings: 560-6 decl. 

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