Ranji Trophy: Kerala makes slow progress

The Haryana-Kerala match witnessed another low-scoring day but the visitor ended day two in a dominant position.

Jalaj Saxena fell nine runs short of a century.   -  Special Arrangement

Kerala, playing as if it had all the time in the world, made slow progress on the second day of its Group B Ranji Trophy league match against Haryana at the Choudhary Bansi Lal cricket stadium here on Sunday, making just 203 for three in almost the full day.

The day had started well for the visitors with it requiring just three deliveries to wrap the unfinished Haryana first innings, overnight 207 for nine, as Basil Thampi accounted for Ashish Kumar Hooda for the addition of just one run.

Kerala, in response, did not have the best of starts as opener K.B. Arun Karthick, who was all at sea against Hooda, was castled by the Haryanvi bowler in the second over with an in-swinging delivery. Jalaj Saxena and Rohan Prem then saw Kerala through to lunch at 67 for one.

In the post-lunch session, the runs were scored at a slow pace. Saxena was the more adventurous of the two batsmen while the left-handed Prem occupied the crease without having an impact on the scoreboard or the opposition bowlers, despite the rival bowling being nothing to shout about.

A mere 89 runs were added in 34 overs in the post-lunch session, with nudges and solid defence dominating proceedings. Surely the batsmen could have been a lot more proactive and accummulated the runs at a quicker rate.

Prem and Saxena, nevertheless, shared a 172-run partnership for the second wicket. Saxena, who had set himself to score a century, was bowled by Haryana skipper Amit Mishra nine runs short of the landmark. Saxena had faced 205 deliveries in 303 minutes, his innings punctuated by 10 hits to the fence.

Match centre

Sanju Samson looked to up the ante and had gotten himself off to a good start, hitting Mishra beyond the boundary once. His stay at the crease was cut short by Ajit K. Chahal, who got the Kerala vice-captain leg before for 16 and with the team total at 198.

Prem remained not out on 79 off 273 deliveries and had night watchman Basil Thampi for company when bad light forced another early end to the day’s play.