Kanpur: Skipper Harbhajan Singh's three-wicket burst in an eight-over spell left Uttar Pradesh reeling at 205 for eight in reply to Punjab's first innings total of 272 in a group B Ranji Trophy encounter, here on Tuesday.
With another 68 runs required for the home team to ensure atleast three points, Punjab are in driver's seat at the moment courtesy their skipper's 3/31 which included the wickets of set batsmen Umang Sharma (49) and Akshdeep Nath (35), who had added 50 runs for the fourth wicket.
The senior off-spinner also accounted for wicketkeeper-batsman Ekalavya Dwivedi (27) caught by close in fielder Mandeep Singh.
The worst part about UP's batting was that none of their batsmen converted their starts. Whether it was Himanshu Asnora (34) at the top or the trio of Umang, Akshdeep and Elalavya -- everyone was guilty of playing to the wrong line.
Left-arm medium pacer Deepak Bansal (2/22) bowled to tight lines while seamer Siddharth Kaul (2/71) also chipped in with useful wickets including the prize wicket of opposition captain Suresh Raina (0), who was clean bowled.
Earlier, Punjab added 24 runs to their overnight score of 248 for eight before being bowled out for 272 in their first innings.
Gitansh Khera (74) could only add a single run to his overnight score. Praveen Kumar (4/81) was the most successful bowler for Uttar Pradesh.
Brief Scores: Punjab 1st Innings 272 in 90.3 overs (Mayank Siddhana 85, Gitansh Khera 74, Praveen Kumar 4/81)
Uttar Pradesh 205/8 in 71 overs (Suresh Raina 0, Umang Sharma 49, Harbhajan Singh 3/31).