Rajasthan on path of victory after day 3 in Ranji Trophy

Vadodara, Jan 14 (PTI) Rajasthan are well on course fortheir maiden Ranji Trophy title after taking a vital firstinnings lead of 33 runs over Baroda and reaching 201 for fourin their second essay at the end of the fourth day''s play heretoday.

At stumps on the penultimate day''s play of the four-daymatch, Rajasthan had taken an overall lead of 234 runs overthe home team with six wickets in hand.

Left-arm spinner Ashok Maneria, who had signed up withRajasthan Royals for IPL IV earlier this week, celebrated theachievement with an unbeaten 83 and with Rashmi Parida (78not) stitched an undefeated 140-run innings for the fifthwicket to guide the visitors past the 200-run mark in thesecond innings.

Earlier, resuming at 361 for eight, overnight batsmenSankalp Vohra (34 not out) and Murtuja Vahora (36) carried onRajasthan''s fightback and tried hard to surpass Baroda''s firstinnings total of 394 with a 68-run ninth wicket stand but tono avail.

Another Rajasthan Royals new recruit, Deepak Chahar(4/79) broke the dangerous-looking partnership, dismissingVahora caught by Akash Chopra with Baroda still needing 38runs to get past the visitors.

But it was not to be as five runs later off-spinnerMadhur Khatri rounded off the proceedings for Rajasthanscalping last man Bhargav Bhatt caught by Chopra.

In their second innings, Rajasthan, however, had aterrible start as they lost their first three batsmen,including skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar for just 11 runs.

But Robin Bist and Parida steadied the ship with a 50-runstand and then Menaria joined hands with Parida to takeRajasthan into a safe position.

For Baroda, Vahora was the pick of the bowlers in thesecond innings with figures of two for 48, Vohra and Bhattpicked up a wicket each for 27 and 60 runs respectively. PTISP SSC ATK

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