After their loss to Rest of India in the Irani Cup at the start of the season, defending champions Rajasthan didn't want their Ranji Trophy title to be dismissed as a flash in the pan. In the eight games so far, they have proved that they belong to the big league.
Hrishikesh Kanitkar's side are virtually through to their second consecutive Ranji semifinal as they dismissed Hyderabad for 144, in reply to 421, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Upal.
Following on, the hosts, who clawed their way back to the Elite Group this season, were 138 without loss, but the effort appears to have come too late. What can now save the Deccan team is if they score at a quick rate and set a decent target for Rajasthan, and then dismiss them. All this will need to done within a possible 90 overs.
Rajasthan began the third day with Sumit Mathur rattling the stumps of night watchman Kanishka Naidu in the second over. Skipper Ravi Teja and Arjun Yadav then got together to add 80 runs. Arjun, the last match's centurion, led a charmed life. He was dropped on 30 when leg-spinner Vivek Yadav dropped a caught and bowled chance, and then wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik missed a difficult one as the batsman edged one from left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh.
Arjun's luck finally ran out when he holed out to Vivek at short mid on off Gajendra.
The wicket triggered off a collapse — B Sandeep edging one to slip, Ravi Teja having his stumps disturbed while trying to cut, and Amod Quadri falling like Arjun. Gajendra returned with four wickets in the innings.
After lunch, Vivek wrapped up the tail by dismissing Lalit Mohan and Ahmed Anwar Khan. The writing was on the wall for Hyderabad, but openers Teja and Akshath Reddy attacked the Rajasthan bowlers and played some good, but risky, strokes and managed to remain unbeaten on 77 and 58 respectively. The hosts trail by 139 runs.