New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh opener Prashant Chopra cracked an unbeaten 271 while veteran Paras Dogra remained undefeated on 99 to help the hill state reach a mammoth 459/2 against Punjab on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 Group D match at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Friday.
Chopra blasted 37 boundaries besides hitting a sixer in his 289-ball effort as Himachal also rode on skipper Sumeet Verma's 120-ball 79 to decimate Punjab on a pitch that assisted the pace bowlers earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, in Group A, India pacer Ishant Sharma shone with the ball to help Delhi restrict Assam to 224/7 on the opening day of their Ranji clash at the Feroz Shah Kotla here.
Ishant returned with figures of (3/31) after Delhi opted to field after winning the toss.
For Assam, skipper Gokul Sharma (51) and Swarupam Purkayastha (57 not out) were the main contributors as the top order comprising the likes of Pallavkumar Das (18), Rishav Das (14) and Sibsankar Roy (11) failed to capitalise on their starts.
At stumps, pacer Abu Nechim Ahmed was unbeaten on a 28-ball 27 along with Purkayastha.
Delhi skipper Ishant was complemented well by his new ball partner Navdeep Saini (1/39), pacer Kulwant Khejroliya (1/46) and off-spin duo of Pulkit Narang (1/39) and Nitish Rana (1/23).
In other Group A matches, the Railways were bundled out for a paltry 182 before Uttar Pradesh ended the day on 9/0 at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Electing to bat, Ashish Yadav top-scored for the Railways with a patient 53 before the UP bowlers led by Ankit Rajpoot (3/30), Zeeshan Ansari (3/78) broke the backbone of the visitors' line-up. Skipper Suresh Raina also contributed with two wickets with his gentle off-spin.
In the third match of the group, rains forced abandonment of the first day's play between Hyderabad and Maharashtra at the Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad.
In Group B, half centuries from Prerak Mankad (68) and wicketkeeper-bat Sheldon Jackson (51) lifted Saurashtra to 271/7 at the end of the first day's play against Haryana.
Pacer Ashish Hooda (4/59) shone with the cherry for the hosts at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium at Lahli.
In another Group B tie, Kerala off-spinner Jalaj Saxena (6/50) decimated Jharkhand's batting to restrict them to 200/9 at the stumps on the opening day at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
Wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan provided some resistance with the willow, scoring a 100-ball 45 for the visitors.
In the other match of the group, Robin Bist's (105) brilliant century provided the momentum for Rajasthan to score 249/4 against Jammu and Kashmir at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
For the hosts, Ashok Menaria (69) and opener Amitkumar Gautam (51) also contributed with classy half tons.
In Group C, skipper Devendra Bundela missed his 27th first class ton by just one run but helped Madhya Pradesh to a comfortable 268/5 at stumps against Baroda at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.
Shubham Sharma (88 not out) was at the crease when the bails were dislodged for the day.
The first day's play of the Group C match between Odisha and Tripura was washed out without a single ball being bowled at the Vikas Cricket Ground in Cuttack.
In another Group C tie at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the star-studded Tamil Nadu side folded for a paltry 176 against Andhra Pradesh before the visitors reached 8/0 at stumps.
Baba Aparajith was the top scorer for the hosts with a valiant 137-ball 51 as Andhra's duo fo Bhargav Bhatt (4/52) and Prithvi Raj (3/39) ripped apart the Tamil Nadu batting.
In Group D, skipper Mohammed Kaif's patient 129-ball unbeaten 49 helped Chhattisgarh reach 189/5 at stumps on day 1 against Goa at Porvorim. Wicket-keeper Manoj Singh was unbeaten on 31 when the bails were removed for the day.
In another Group D tie, Bengal rode on Sudip Chatterjee's unbeaten 114 to score a healthy 341/3 at stumps against the Services at the Palam A Stadium here.
For the tourists, the opening duo of Abhimanyu Easwaran (65) and Abhishek Raman (40) gave a flying start before Chatterjee and skipper Manoj Tiwary (69) stamped their authority in the match.
At stumps, India Test keeper Wriddhiman Saha (32 not out) was at the crease with Chatterjee.
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