Ranji Trophy: Agarwal, Pandey make it Karnataka’s day

Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey put on 229 runs for the fourth wicket to help Karnataka lay a strong first-innings foundation against Railways on Day One of its Group ‘A’ contest.

Mayank Agarwal continued his good run, scoring a century to rescue Karnataka on Saturday.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey sure know the importance of building on good form. Enjoying a fruitful season, they extended their run-scoring exercise by crafting a century each to put Karnataka in a strong position on the opening day of the Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy match at the Karnail Singh Stadium here on Saturday.

The decision to bat appeared to backfire as Karnataka was embarrassed by the Railways seamers. In no time, Karnataka was reduced to 19 for three as R. Samarth, D. Nischal and Karun Nair failed to negotiate the movement. The slide was arrested by Agarwal and Pandey as they put on 229 runs for the fourth wicket in a partnership that could provide decisive.

Scorecard

“It was hard. The ball was doing just enough for the seamers. There was moisture and their bowlers bowled good areas,” said Agarwal of the early dents by the opposition. It worked well for Railways that Agarwal, who has been in an awesome form this season, chose not to discard his natural game.

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With Pandey as company, Agarwal prospered to play an attacking innings which included 17 fours and a six off 241 balls. “I have been working hard. I had done skill based training pre-season, simulating the match situations which helped. I didn't get off to a right start to the season but I am grateful to god, my captain and management, who backed me,” added Agarwal.

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Seizing control

At the end of this innings, Agarwal’s aggregate stood at 930 runs with four centuries. “With the wickets falling and their bowlers pitching in good areas, Manish and I worked on building a partnership. We both are attacking batsmen and focussed on taking quick singles, playing close to the body, going only after the loose deliveries. Once we got 20-30 runs, we looked to dominate the bowlers,” Agarwal explained the approach of the Karnataka batting.

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Pandey settled into his role quickly. He scattered the field with some robust shots that reflected his excellent form. His 169-ball knock contained nine fours and two sixes and helped Karnataka snatch the initiative back from Railways.