If runs flowed like a torrent on the first day, it almost became a trickle on the second.
Yet, Kerala is in firm control of its Ranji Trophy match against Meghalaya at the Saurashtra Cricket Ground (C). After dismissing Meghalaya for 148, Kerala had raced to 205 for one by stumps on day one, scoring at nearly six runs an over. Batting was very much in the one-day mode.
On Friday though, it became more in the longer-format style, as Kerala took its first innings to 454 for eight — a lead of 306.
The second day’s highlight was the career-best knock from opener P. Rahul. He made 147 (239b, 17x4, 1x6) during his 367-minute stay at the wicket.
He batted in a more subdued manner on this day. But he ensured that Kerala capitalised on the good start. After resuming at 91 not out, he reached his second Ranji hundred in the seventh over of the day.
Meghalaya bowled tighter than it did on the first day; the free-stroking opener Rohan Kunnummal was already back in the dressing room also helped.
Kerala suffered a setback early in the morning when Jalaj Saxena was bowled by a ball that came in from Dippu Sangma. Captain Sachin Baby, however, lent ample support to Rahul as the duo added 96 for the third wicket before the former was caught behind off seamer Nafees Siddique for 56 (113b, 6x4).
A little later, the long vigil of Rahul finally came to an end, as he gave a sharp catch at mid-on to D.B. Ravi Teja off off-spinner Chirag Khurana. His was one of the three wickets that Kerala lost in the second session; the third one was Vishnu Vinod, who was bowled while trying to sweep left-arm spinner Aryan Bora.
Now, it was up to Vathsal Govind, the last of the specialist batters, to increase the lead further. The 22-year-old, whose only Ranji match before this was in late 2018, didn’t disappoint. At stumps he was not out on 76 (147b, 4x4, 1x6); he showed fine temperament and technique.