Nagpur: Opener Priyank Kirit Panchal cracked an unbeaten 144 to propel Gujarat to 283 for three in their first innings against Jharkhand on the first day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final here on Sunday.
Gujarat batted around the 26-year-old, who registered his 11th century in First-Class cricket and fifth of this Ranji season.
It was a matter of continuing his brilliant form Panchal has shown in this Ranji Trophy campaign. Prior to this match, he had amassed 1,120 runs and Sunday's fluent knock stemmed from a player who batted with high confidence.
His well-paced unbeaten knock studded with 21 fours at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Ground.
Right-hander Panchal shared three crucial partnerships -- with Samit Gohel (18), Bhargav Merai (39) and captain Parthiv Patel (62).
The opening partnership between Gohel lasted for 62 runs -- a strong foundation. Gohel, who in the quarter-final recorded a mighty 359 not out, fell to left-arm pacer Vikash Singh.
Panchal then joined hands with Merai and the duo managed to stitch a 65-run stand which gave Gujarat a strong position. Merai was caught by wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan off a delivery from Vikash.
Panchal was then joined by India Test wicket-keeper Parthiv, who kept the positivity going, keeping the pressure on Jharkhand bowlers with regular fours. The left-right combination forged a 139-run stand for the third wicket to put their side on the top.
Left-hander Parthiv recorded his 55th fifty in First-Class cricket as he and Panchal kept the maiden semi-finalists at bay.
Right-arm medium pacer Kaushal Singh brought an end to the partnership when he got a LBW decision against Parthiv, who hit six fours and a six.
With the team's score at 266-3, Manpreet Juneja (12 not out) came to the middle and remained unbeaten alongside Panchal to take Gujarat to 283-3 at the end of the first day.
Brief scores: Gujarat 283-3 (Priyank Kirit Panchal 144 not out, Parthiv Patel 62; Vikash Singh 2-48) vs Jharkhand on Day 1.