Kerala batters failed to build on to their starts as the host squandered an opportunity to bat out Chattisgarh but still ended the second day in command in the Ranji Trophy cricket match at the KCA-St.Xavier’s College ground here on Wednesday.
Resuming at the overnight total of 100 for two, Kerala was sitting pretty at 229 for three but Sachin Baby’s (77) run out gave Chhattisgarh a foothold. Rash strokes by Kerala lower order batters saw the host collapse to 311 but with a handy lead of 162 runs.
Kerala spinners Jalaj Saxena and Vaisakh Chandran prised out Chhattisgarh openers cheaply in the second innings to leave the visitor struggling at 10 for two at Stumps.
The overnight pair of Rohan Prem and Baby didn’t have any trouble negotiating the Chhattisgarh bowlers in the first session. Rohan, who completed 5,000 First-Class runs, steadily progressed to 50 and had a big slice of fortune on 66 when he was bowled off a no-ball from left-arm spinner Ajay Mandal.
However, the batter failed to capitalise on his luck and was dismissed for 77, slashing a wide delivery from Mayank Yadav to wicketkeeper M.S.S.Hussain. The third wicket partnership between Rohan and Baby added 123 runs as Kerala looked set for a big total.
Baby (77) was circumspect against the medium pacers but opened up against the spinners and was progressing calmly to a big knock when he ran for a non-existent run and couldn’t beat the throw from Mayank.
Sanju Samson deposited the first ball he faced from Mandal over long-on for a six and followed it with a crisp boundary to show his aggressive intent. However, Samson was left to bat with the tail as Akshay Chandran (12), Saxena (11) and Sijomon Joseph (6) fell in quick succession. Sumit Ruikar cleaned up Samson (46) as the batter tried a big hit across the line. Sumit dismissed F. Fanoos and N.P. Basil to finish with figures of three for 37.
Saxena and Vaisakh courted success in their opening overs to leave Chhattisgarh gasping as 0 for two. Harpreet Singh Bhatia (3 batting) and Amandeep Khare (0 batting) were spared of the ordeal as bad light ended play with 15 overs left to be bowled.