Ranji Trophy quarter-finals: Syed Mohammad, pacers put Assam on top against Punjab

Valsad: Wickets fell like pack of cards with as many as 16 batsmen perishing on the second day at the end of which Assam find itself in a significant stronger position against Punjab in a quarterfinal match of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, in Valsad on Thursday.

Starting the day at 223 for eight, overnight batsman Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad (121) added 71 runs to his overnight score and hit the bulk of the runs to take Assam to a respectable score of 323. He hit 16 boundaries and two sixes during his valiant knock.

Syed Mohammed converted his overnight 50 into his second first-class hundred. He held on to the innings for 21.3 overs with the final two wickets and in the process amassed 100 runs. Later, seamers Krishna Das (3/54) and Arup Das (3/41) shared six wickets between them to rout Punjab for 137.

Middle-order batsman Mayank Sidhana, who struck nearly 60 per cent of their first-innings total, remained unbeaten on 80 off 131 balls with 10 fours while eight of his team-mates perished for single digits. In reply, Punjab had fallen to 13 for four in the fifth over as Arup and ran amok.

Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Singh got out for ducks, leaving Sidhana and Uday Kaul (25) to resurrect the innings. The duo put on 73 runs together before part-timer Pallavkumar Das (2/9) broke through and the Punjab tail crumbled soon after.

In their second innings, Assam did not have the best of starts and are in a spot of bother at 23 for four. Assam's batsmen pushed their first-innings lead of 186 to 209, but had a lot of trouble doing so thanks to left-arm seamer Barinder Sran's three for 11.

Brief Scores: Assam 1st Innings 323 all out in 108 overs (J Syed Mohammed 121, Siddharth Kaul 4/99, Deepak Bansal 3/75) & 23 for four in 11 overs (Barinder Sran 3/11). Punjab 1st innings: 137 all out in 47.2 overs (Mayank Sidhana 80 not out; Arup Das 3/41, Krishna Das 3/54).

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