He had made a promising debut in the Ranji Trophy nearly eight years ago, but was of the team for a long time. Akshay Chandran could not have hoped for a more triumphant return.
The left-arm spin all-rounder scored 150 (268b, 13x4, 1x6) to help Kerala move into a strong position on the second day of the Ranji Trophy match against Jharkhand at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi. The visitor made 475 in its first innings and reduced the host to 87 for three at Stumps.
Kerala had resumed at the overnight at 276 for six and Chandran’s seventh-wicket stand with Sijomon Joseph (83, 153b, 10x4, 3x6) continued to frustrate the bowlers. By the time Joseph became one of the five victims of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, the duo had added 171. Akshay then batted with the tail to take Kerala to a big total.
Basil Thampi provided an early breakthrough, cleaning up Utkarsh Singh in the third over. Then Vaisakh Chandran, one of three debutants for Kerala (Shoun Roger and F. Fanoos being the others), picked up two wickets in successive overs to put Jharkhand in a spot of bother at 56 for three.
“We are indeed in a good position and will try to take more wickets early on the third day,” Akshay told Sportstar shortly after Stumps on what had been a satisfactory day for him.
“I was prepared to take more responsibility with the bat this season. I had been told by the team management I would be batting higher in the order. It was of course disappointing that I could not play in the Ranji Trophy since the 2019-20 season, and I am glad that I could play an important innings on my return.”
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