Meerut: Mohammad Kaif scored a patient half century to lead Uttar Pradesh to 221 for five after the hosts restricted Punjab for 288 on the second day of their elite group B Ranji Trophy encounter at the Bhamashah Stadium here today.
Kaif, whose innings included six boundaries and a six, was ably supported by Shivakant Shukla (39, 7x4), Digvijay Singh (38, 6x4) and Tanmay Srivastava (35, 6x4), as Uttar Pradesh closed in on Punjab’s first innings score after Praveen Kumar picked up five for 72 for the hosts.
Like Punjab on the first day, Uttar Pradesh too got off to solid start, with the fairly experienced duo of Shukla and Srivastava sharing a 71-run stand for the opening wicket, before Srivastava fell to Rajwinder Singh in the 17th over.
Harmeet Singh removed Shukla with the one that had him trapped in front, three overs later. Kaif then joined Digvijay and the two stitched together a valuable 70-run partnership for the third wicket.
Just when UP looked to take control of the proceedings, Digvijay offered a catch to Vishwas Bhalla off the bowling of Rajwinder.
Parvinder Singh fought for a brief while before falling to Sarabjit Ladda.
The hosts were dealt their biggest blow, when Navdeep Sidhu bowled Kaif moments after the UP skipper had got to his half century.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (11) and Piyush Chawla (1) were the two overnight batsmen on crease.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 279 for six, Punjab lost their remaining four wickets in the space of six overs for just nine runs.
Karan goel, who was unbeaten on 56 at stumps on day one, added just two runs before being dismissed by Praveen. Harmeet, who was batting on 29, remained not out on the same score as Praveen wrapped up the tail in no time.
Punjab 1st innings 288 all out in 97.2 overs (karan Goel 58, Yuvraj 56, Sarul Kanwar 42; Praveen Kumar 5/72)
UP 1st innings 221 for five in 80 overs (Mohammad Kaif 58, Shivakant Shukla 39).