Rohan Kunnummal’s wonderful stroke-making ability was on display yet again, as the opener scored his second hundred in as many innings to lead Kerala’s chase of Gujarat’s first innings in a Ranji Trophy Group A match on Friday.
Kerala ended day two at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium on 277 for four, trailing by 111 runs. It was the third-wicket stand of 119 between Rohan (129, 171b, 16x4, 4x6) and captain Sachin Baby (53, 100b, 6x4, 1x6) that steadied the ship after opener P. Rahul (44, 51b, 8x4) and Jalaj Saxena gave away their wickets in the last 11 minutes before lunch.
Rahul got carried away, rather uncharacteristically, after adding 85 for the opening wicket with Rohan inside 14 overs. He stepped out against left-arm spinner Siddharth Desai, only to be stumped. Jalaj, at the stroke of lunch, went for a cut off the same bowler and gave an outside edge to slip.
Kerala could not have afforded another wicket. It didn’t give any in the entire second session. After tea, Baby was bowled, through the gate, by a ball that came into the left-hander from left-arm seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla.
Eight overs later, Kerala lost its fourth wicket, as Rohan, right after pulling seamer Roosh Kalaria for a boundary through mid-wicket, tried an ambitious stroke on the other side, but managed to give only a catch to deep point.
Rohan, light on his feet, timed his shots beautifully and played some lovely shots all around the ground. A gorgeous cover drive off Nagwaswalla stood out, probably.
Earlier, Gujarat, resuming at 334 for four, was all out for 388, a considerable improvement from 33 for four. The man responsible, Het Patel, was batting on 146 overnight and he took his score to 185 (245b, 29x4, 2x6) before he was the last man out, caught at deep-square leg off Basil Thampi, who took four wickets. But M.D. Nidheesh was the pick of the bowlers, with figures of five for 54 from 22 overs.
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