Centuries from India's U19 World Cup winning captain Yash Dhull, senior Test batter Ajinkya Rahane and youngster Sarfaraz Khan were the highlights on day one of the 2021/22 Ranji Trophy on Thursday.On the day India's premier domestic cricket competition returned, hundreds coming out of the bat of Dhull, Rahane and Sarfaraz apart from Karnataka duo Manish Pandey and KV Siddharth stood out the most.In Delhi's Elite Group H contest against Tamil Nadu at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Dhull scored 113 off 150 balls, including 18 boundaries, to continue his cricketing fairy tale.Dhull opened the batting for Delhi after Tamil Nadu skipper Vijay Shankar elected to bowl first. Dhull watched his opening partner Dhruv Shorey get out for one followed by one-drop Himmat Singh dismissed for a duck as pacer Sandeep Warrier bagged both wickets.
Dhull was firm in his first innings at the senior level, leading Delhi's recovery from 7/2 with a 60-run partnership with Nitish Rana (25) for the third wicket followed by a 119-run association with Jonty Sidhu for the fourth wicket. When Dhull was on 97, he was dismissed by pacer M Mohammed but the ball turned out to be a no-ball, giving the youngster a reprieve.A cut through point off off-spinner Baba Aparajith took him to his maiden century in first-class cricket with his Delhi team-mates and support staff giving a huge round of applause. Dhull continued to fetch runs till he was trapped lbw by Mohammed for 113. In his knock, Dhull amassed 48 runs from off-side while scoring 65 runs through the on-side.The month of February has been a great one for Dhull, who captained India to winning the U19 World Cup final against England at Antigua. In the tournament, he made 229 runs in four innings at an average of 76.33.It includes 82 against South Africa in the tournament opener and 110 against Australia in the semi-final.
In between, he missed matches against Ireland and Uganda due to Covid-19 infection. After the World Cup triumph, Dhull was included in Delhi's squad for Ranji Trophy and also bagged an IPL contract with Delhi Capitals worth INR 50L.For Rahane, under pressure due to the lean patch in Test cricket, the timing of his hundred against Saurashtra in Mumbai's Elite Group D match at the Narendra Modi Stadium Ground 'A' couldn't have been better. Rahane reached his century in 212 balls, hitting 14 fours and 2 sixes along the way. He scored 60 runs through the off-side and 48 runs through the on-side.Giving him company in the mammoth 219-run stand for the fourth wicket was Sarfaraz, unconquered at 121 off 219 balls, including 15 fours and two sixes. The duo were essential in resurrecting Mumbai's innings from 44/3 to reaching 263/3 in 87 overs at stumps.Meanwhile, in the Elite Group C match at the Gurunanak College Ground in Chennai, Karnataka finished the day at 392/5 in 90 overs. Pandey, Karnataka's skipper, slammed an 83-ball century and then changed gears to make 156 runs off 121 balls before being dismissed by Shivam Chaudhary. His partner for the 267-stand, Siddharth, is still unbeaten at the crease with 140 not out off 221 balls, including 17 fours and two sixes.
Brief Scores - Ranji Trophy Day One
Elite Group A
Madhya Pradesh 235/7 in 88 overs (Shubham Sharma 92, Rajat Patidar 54, Arzan Nagwaswalla 3/50) against Gujarat.
Kerala 205/1 in 36 overs (Rohan S Kunnummal 107, Rahul P 91 not out, CG Khurana 1/44) lead Meghalaya 148 all out in 40.5 overs (Punit Bisht 93, Edhen Apple Tom 4/41, Manu Krishnan 3/34) by 57 runs.
Elite Group B
Bengal 24/1 in 13 overs trail Baroda 181 all out in 54.2 overs (Mitesh Patel 66, Ishan Porel 4/40, Mukesh Kumar 3/33) by 157 runs.
Hyderabad 270/7 in 88 overs (Hanuma Vihari 59, Prateek Reddy 36, Jagjit Singh Sandhu 3/50, Rajangad Bawa 2/43) against Chandigarh.
Elite Group C
Karnataka 392/5 in 90 overs (Manish Pandey 156, KV Siddharth 140 not out, Shivam Chaudhary 2/22) against Railways.
Pondicherry 309/6 in 90 overs (Paras Dogra 108, S Karthik 63, Umran Malik 3/79) against Jammu and Kashmir
Elite Group D
Mumbai 263/3 in 87 overs (Sarfaraz Khan 121 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 108 not out, Jaydev Unadkat 1/23) against Saurashtra.
Odisha 23/3 in 13.2 overs (Lakshay A Garg 2/9) trail Goa 181 all out in 64 overs (Kd Eknath 76, Basant Mohanty 3/27) by 158 runs.
Elite Group E
Andhra 75/2 in 30 overs (U M S Girinath 36 not out, Aniket Choudhary 2/10) trail Rajasthan 275 all out in 59.2 overs (RK Bishnoi 54, Stephen 5/51) by 200 runs
Uttarakhand 25/1 in six overs trail Services 176 all out in 78.4 overs (Devender Lohchab 76, Deepak Dhapola 4/24) by 151 runs
Elite Group F
Himachal Pradesh 324/6 in 90 overs (Ankit Kalsi 88, Akash Vashisht 78 not out, Mayank Markande 2/68) against Punjab.
Haryana 327/4 in 90 overs (Yashu Sharma 101 not out, Shivam Chauhan 71, AS Sarkar 1/36) against Tripura.
Elite Group G
Uttar Pradesh 268/7 in 90 overs (Aksh Deep Nath 91, Rinku Singh 65, Umesh Yadav 2/37) against Vidarbha.
Maharashtra 278/5 in 90 overs (Pawan Shah 165 not out, Mukhtar Hussain 3/61) against Assam.
Elite Group H
Delhi 291/7 in 90 overs (Yash Dhull 113, Jonty Sidhu 71, M Mohammed 2/40) against Tamil Nadu.
Chhattisgarh 135/4 in 36 overs (Shashank Singh 37 not out, Sushant Mishra 2/20) trail Jharkhand 169 all out in 51.3 overs (Kumar Deobrat 34, Ajay Mandal 4/47) by 34 runs.
Bihar 325/3 in 90 overs (Sakibul Gani 136 not out, Babul Kumar 123 not out, Taruwar Kohli 1/33) against Mizoram.
Sikkim 291/9 in 90 overs (Anwesh 87, Liyan Khan 53, Nagaho 5/40) against Nagaland
Manipur 95/1 in 33 overs (Al Bashid 41 not out) trail Arunachal Pradesh 119 all out in 57 overs (Obi 61, Kishan 4/11) by 24 runs.