Gautam Gambhir scored the 43rd and final first-class century of his career as Delhi ensured at least three points by virtue of first innings lead against Andhra on the third day of the group B encounter in the Ranji Trophy on Saturday, PTI reported.

At stumps, Delhi ended the day at 409 for 7 in reply to Andhra’s 380 but every other details was of little consequence because of one man playing his last game. The entire focus was on Gambhir, who is set to hang his boots on Sunday, made it memorable for the 500-odd spectators, who were present at the Feroz Shah Kotla to cheer every run that he scored.

A streaky boundary through the slips took him to 98 and then he square drove pacer Bandaru Ayappa to scamper home for a double to complete one of his more emotionally exhausting hundreds.

While the 100-odd youngsters sporting “Miss you Gauti’ T-shirts were overwhelmed with emotion, the former India opener was muted in his celebrations as he didn’t even bother to open his helmet. He added 113 runs for the second wicket with skipper Dhruv Shorey (98) before India A keeper Kona Bharat finally held onto an edge with off-spinner Shoaib Mohammed Khan being the bowler.

It wasn’t a smooth innings but no one cared for the details like 10 boundaries and 185 balls as he got a generous applause. The Delhi players gave a him a Guard of Honour, the spectators gave a standing ovation and the entire Andhra team came up to congratulate him. He strode back to pavilion in a matter of fact manner as the interest in the day’s proceedings suddenly waned.

However, it was Shorey, Delhi’s most consistent batsmen over past two seasons, who played with a lot of confidence, wearing the Andhra attack on a low and slow track. He batted patiently playing 259 balls, hitting six fours, adding 86 with Vaibhav Rawal (33) after century stand with Gambhir.

After Rawal was dismissed, Dhruv was stuck and left-arm spinner Manish Golamaru trapped him with a short mid-off fielder. Sai Krishna stationed at the particular position took a smart low catch.

But debutant Jonty Sidhu (30), Lalit Yadav (29) and Anuj Rawat (28) took their team past Andhra’s first innings score to ensure three points.

Kerala face uphill task against TN

Kerala was 27 for 1 in at stumps on the third day Saturday,chasing 369 for a win against Tamil Nadu. KB Arun Karthick (on 12) and Sijomon Joseph (1) were at the crease at close of play.

Tamil Nadu declared their second innings at 252 for 7, riding on half-centuries from captain Baba Indrajith (92) and M Kaushik Gandhi (59) to set the visitors a daunting target.

The home team bowlers came to the fore to dismiss Kerala for 152 in the first innings in response to TN’s 268 early this morning as the visitors could add only one run to the overnight score. Rahil Shah removed Sijomon Joseph (29) to finish with 4 for 32.

Left-arm medium-pacer T Natarajan ended with three wickets and R Sai Kishore had two scalps. Tamil Nadu started the second innings in a brisk fashion as southpaw Abhinav Mukund and Kaushik Gandhi appeared to be on the lookout for runs.

Mukund hit half a dozen boundaries and looked good for a big one, before off-spinner Jalaj Saxena had him caught behind by Vishnu Vinod for 33 (43 balls),having added 55 runs for the opening wicket. Baba Aparajith (4) didn’t last long and fell to a catch by Vishnu Vinod of Sandeep Warrier.

Gandhi (59) was involved in a 78-run partnership for the third wicket with skipper Baba Indrajith, who followed up his first innings knock of 87 with another classy effort. Indrajith (92, 148 balls) hit six boundaries and fell in the quest for quick runs, missing out on a ton.

The experienced Dinesh Karthik, back in the squad after being part of the national T20 team in Australia, failed for a second time, caught by Arun Karthick of left-arm spinner Sijomon Joseph for 1.

Rajasthan thrash Assam

Rajasthan pacer Aniket Choudhary grabbed his second five-wicket haul as the hosts recorded an emphatic innings and 43-run win against Assam. 28-year-old left-arm pacer Choudhary, who had picked up a five-wicket haul in the first innings, shone in the second innings too to return with exceptional figures of 5-40 as Rajasthan bundled out Assam for 174.

Choudhary ended the match with excellent figures of 10-78 (5-38 and 5-40). This is Rajasthan’s fourth win of the season.

After bundling out Assam for 108 in their first essay at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Rajasthan had posted 325 in their first essay to take a healthy 217-run first innings lead, with skipper Mahipal Lomror hitting a stroke-filled 133.

Assam, who began the penultimate day at 109 for 3, slumped to 174 all out in their second essay, as Choudhary and other pacers TM Haq (2-44) and Nathu Singh (2-28) wreaked havoc. For Assam, only Gokul Sharma (77) and wicket-keeper Kunal Saikia (49) delayed the inevitable.

But after the duo fell, it was smooth sailing for the visitors. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh defeated Jammu and Kashmir by 6 wickets in Jammu as experienced Suresh Raina played a crucial knock of 66 not out in the second innings.

Maharashtra take lead

Hosts Maharashtra bundled out Mumbai for 273 to take the crucial first innings lead in their Elite Group A game. Mumbai, who resumed on the penultimate day at 196/6, had their hopes on stand-in skipper Siddhesh Lad, who was unbeaten on 70.

But the right-handed batsman could add only 23 runs to his overnight tally before being caught by Rohit Motani off Samad Fallah. Young Shubham Ranjane remained unbeaten on 54, but lacked support from the other end as wickets kept tumbling and Mumbai fell well short of the hosts’ tally of 352.

For the hosts, Ashay Palkar (4-62) and left-arm medium pacer Samad Fallah (3-55) were the main wicket takers. Mumbai fought back to reduce Maharashtra to 112 for 5 at close of play at the MCA Stadium in Gahunje.

Skipper Rahul Tripathi (13 not out) and Saytajeet Bachhav (3 not out) were the not out batsmen at stumps for Maharashtra, whose overall lead was 191. Meanwhile, at Rajkot hosts Saurashtra rode on a splendid performance of their bowlers to defeat Karnataka by 87 runs and took 6 points.

Manipur, Bihar post big wins

Skipper Yashpal Singh grabbed a five-wicket haul to complement debutant Mayank Raghav’s double century as Manipur thrashed hosts Nagaland by seven wickets. The medium pacer returned with 5/46, running through the tail to bundle out Nagaland for 334 after they resumed the day on 150/4.

Chasing 125, Manipur’s opener Lakhan Rawat struck 55, while Yashpal remained unbeaten on 35 to seal the win with a day to spare. Man-of-the-match Raghav’s 228 had helped Manipur take a 210-run first innings lead. Nagaland showed fight in the second innings with KB Pawan (131) and Arbar Kazi (90) putting on 186 runs for the fifth wicket.

Yashpal finally gave the breakthrough, getting Kazi stumped before the lunch break as Nagaland’s last five batsmen folded for 64 runs to set an easy 125-run target. At the Moin-ul-Haq Stadium in Patna, left-arm spinner Ashutosh Aman returned with a match haul of 11 wickets as Bihar secured an innings and 317-run victory over Arunachal Pradesh to log seven points.