Kerala spinners hunted in pairs to bamboozle Services batters on the second day of the Ranji Trophy cricket match at the KCA-St.Xavier’s College ground on Wednesday.
For the first time this season at home, the spinners complimented each other to have the visitors struggling at 167 for six in reply to Kerala’s first innings total of 327.
The pick of the spinners was off-spinner Vaisakh Chandran, who bowled with control and guile to pick up two for 30. Vaisakh flighted the ball and varied his pace to trouble batter Jalaj Saxena after an ordinary start. He improved later to finish with two wickets as well. Captain Sijomon chipped in with a late wicket of Ravi Chauhan (50) as Services frittered away a promising start.
Services opener S.G. Rohilla looked in fine nick as he imperiously cover-drove Basil Thampi for two crisp boundaries to start in style. His partner Sufiyan Aslam was watchful as the duo with contrasting styles added 48 runs for the first wicket.
However, Sufiyan missed a pull as the ball hurried on to him, and Vaisakh won an lbw decision in his favour from the umpire. Rohilla (31) padded up to a straight ball from Jalaj, and Rahul Singh (19) was trapped in front by Vaisakh. After Rajat Palliwal perished to a catch in the slips Ravi Chauhan and L.S. Kumar added 34 runs for the fifth wicket.
Kumar’s (12) poor judgement brought his downfall as he shouldered arms to see his stumps rearranged by Jalaj. Late in the third session, Sijomon trapped Ravi Chauhan in front to lift Kerala
Earlier in the morning, the overnight pair of Sachin Baby and Sijomon Joseph survived a testing spell from Services medium pacers. Sachin Baby progressed to his 150 without much fuss, but Sijomon led a charmed life and survived two chances. But the batter couldn’t cash on to his reprieves as he was trapped in front by off-spinner M.S. Rathee for 55.
The seventh wicket pair added 131 runs, but Kerala suffered a mini collapse as Sachin Baby was run-out going for a second run which was never there. Basil Thampi (0) nicked one to S.G. Rohilla in the slips off Pulkit Narang as Kerala slid from 311 for six to 312 for nine. M.D. Nidheesh struck a four and a six but was cleaned up by Rathee, who picked his second wicket.