Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Sachin, Vishnu tons help Kerala fight back

Kerala, which looked set for an imminent innings defeat against Madhya Pradesh, staged a magnificent recovery on the third day, thanks to centuries by its skipper Sachin Baby and Vishnu Vinod.

Vishnu Vinod on way to his century against Madhya Pradesh on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

Kerala, which looked set for an imminent innings defeat against Madhya Pradesh, staged a magnificent recovery on the third day, guided by centuries from skipper Sachin Baby and Vishnu Vinod.

In a Ranji Trophy Elite Pool B match at the St. Xavier’s stadium, Thumba, on Friday, the home side hardly gave anything away as it fought back in style, after being pushed to the wall on the first two days. It ended the day at 390-8 in its second innings and took a lead of 125 runs.

Starting the day at 38-4, hardly anyone had given even an outside chance to Kerala, as V. A. Jagadeesh (26) and Sanju V. Samson (19) fell early. By then, the side was reduced to 100 for 6 in 30.5 overs. But then, came the big turnaround as Sachin and Vishnu decided to stick around. The two were on a mission and they accomplished it by smashing big centuries.

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Though falling cheaply to the guiles of Kuldeep Sen and Avesh Khan in the first innings, both Sachin and Vishnu displayed scant respect to the rival bowling as they counter attacked aggressively and held the Kerala innings together. The duo were involved in a fine 199-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Sachin helping himself to a fifth championship century before he went for a lofted drive over mid-on and was caught by Kumar Kartikeya Singh off Saransh Mishra.

His elegant effort of 143 off 211 deliveries was studded with 14 hits to the boundary and three beyond it.

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Young Vishnu, getting to play for the first time this season, too was simply amazing as he got to his maiden century in the premier event and remained not out at 155 (226 balls, 18 fours, 1 six), showing promise that he is still willing to take the fight back into the rival camp. The side had lost Sachin at 299 and though K. C. Akshay fell soon after the second new ball was taken in the 83rd over. With Basil Thampi joining, Vishu displayed verve to contribute and stuck together to add 70 runs in the ninth wicket.

Madhya Pradesh, for sure, was outplayed through the day but it still holds the advantage as it has the chance.

The scores

Kerala first innings 63

Madhya Pradesh first innings 328

Kerala second innings (Overnight 38-4): Sachin Baby c Kartikeya b Saransh 143, V. A. Jagadeesh c Naman b Mihir 26, Sanju V. Samson run out 19, Vishnu Vinod batting 155, K.C. Akshay b Kuldeep 1, Basil Thampi (batting) 30.

Extras (b-7, lb-2) 9.

Total (for eight wickets, 102 overs) 390.

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-4, 3-7, 4-8, 5-80, 6-100, 7-299, 8-320.

Bowling: Kuldeep 21-6-63-3, Avesh 21-4-78-2, Mihir 22-1-104-1, Saransh 14-1-39-1, Kartikeya 18-2-75-0, Shubham 3-0-8-0, Aryaman 3-0-14-0.