Rising batsman Prashant Chopra brought up his maiden triple ton to guide Himachal Pradesh to a mammoth 729/8 declared in their first innings against Punjab on the second day of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 Group D opener at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Saturday.
Chopra (338) added 61 runs to his tally on the day, clobbering the Punjab bowlers 44 times to the fence and twice over it. Earlier, veteran Paras Dogra (99) missed out on his ton, after falling prey to pacer Sandeep Sharma.
Later, incoming middle order batsman Ankush Bains (80) and Rishi Dhawan (49) played crucial knocks to add to their team's tally.
For Punjab, Sharma (4/149) was the most successful bowler of the side.
In reply, Punjab were off to a good start posting 110/1 at stumps with opener Pargat Singh unbeaten on 64.
Meanwhile, in Group A, India pacer Ishant Sharma, who bowled well for Delhi on the opening day bagged two more wickets to return figures of 5/38 helping his side restrict Assam to 258 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla here.
In response, veteran opener Gautam Gambhir (136 not out) and middle-order batsman Nitish Rana (110) brought up brilliant centuries to help the hosts to 269/4 at stumps.
In another Group A match, after bowling hosts Uttar Pradesh out for 250, the Railways started their second innings on a sour note losing three wickets for 27 at stumps, to trail by 41 runs.
The Railways were bundled out for a paltry 182 in their first essay on the opening day at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
In the third match of the group, rain forced the abandonment of the second day's play between Hyderabad and Maharashtra at the Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad, afer the first day's play was called off due to similar conditions.
In Group B, Saurashtra held the upper hand against hosts Haryana. After being bundled out for a mere 107 in their first innings, Haryana were struggling at 93/6, still trailing by 78 runs in their second essay after being asked to follow on.
Saurashtra medium-pacer Shaurya Sanandia picked up (4/44) and (2/15) in the first and second innings respectively.
Earlier, Saurashtra had posted 278 in their first innings at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium at Lahli.
In another Group B tie, Kerala took the upper hand posting 250/8 at stumps, to lead by 48 runs against Jharkhand on the second day at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, Jharkhand were bundled out for 202 runs, thanks to Kerala off-spinner Jalaj Saxena's (6/50), first fifer of this Ranji season.
In another match of the same group, Jammu and Kashmir opener Ahmed Bandy (72 not out) helped his side reach 150/1 in reply to Rajasthan's first innings total of 330 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Bandy's unbeaten 157-ball innings was laced with 10 boundaries and one six. Pranav Gupta (17 not out) was the other batsman at the crease when the bails were removed for the day.
In Group C, Baroda started on a bad note, losing early wickets, posting 36/2 at stumps against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.
Kedar Devdhar (20) and Pinal Shah (15) went undefeated at stumps.
Earlier, Madhya Pradesh posted a mammoth 551/8 with middle-order batsman Shubham (196) missing out on his double ton and Ankit Sharma (104) scoring a well made century.
In another Group C tie at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, half-century knocks from Bodapati Sumanth (72 not out) and Ashwin Hebbar (64) helped Andhra Pradesh post 231/7 at stumps, taking a 55-runs lead over Tamil Nadu.
The second day's play of the Group C match between Odisha and Tripura was once again washed out without a single ball being bowled at the Vikas Cricket Ground in Cuttack.
In Group D, Goa started steadily, posting 28/0 at stumps, to trail by 430 runs against Chhattisgarh at the Goa Cricket Association Academy Ground in Porvorim.
Earlier, batsmen Manoj Singh (125), Jatin Saxena (82) and Sumit Ruikar (57) helped Chhattisgarh post 458 runs.
In another Group D tie, the Services were off to a good start posting 103/1 on board, trailing by 449 runs against Bengal at the Palam ground here.
Navneet Singh (44 not out) and Ravi Chauhan (42) helped the Services get off to a sound start after Bengal declared their first innings on 552/9.