Ranji Trophy: Karnataka batsmen make Rajasthan toil

Mayank Agarwal (81, 127b, 12x4), K.L. Rahul (76, 85b, 15x4, 1x6) and R. Samarth (62, 109b, 10x4, 1x6) all got going to take Karnataka to 345 for six at close of play.

KL Rahul, making a comeback here after suffering a hamstring injury over a month ago, brought up his fifty in a healthy 61 balls.   -  Vivek Bendre (File Photo)

Three fifties from the Karnataka top-order kept Rajasthan at bay on the first day of their Ranji Trophy encounter here on Sunday.

Mayank Agarwal (81, 127b, 12x4), K.L. Rahul (76, 85b, 15x4, 1x6) and R. Samarth (62, 109b, 10x4, 1x6) all got going to take Karnataka to 345 for six at close of play.

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With Chairman of Selectors M.S.K. Prasad in attendance, Mayank, Rahul and Samarth would have dearly wanted to stamp their authority with triple-digit scores.

Openers Rahul and Samarth got going early with a flurry of pleasing drives. Rahul displayed a penchant for the front-foot flick as well, sending all full, wayward deliveries to the mid-wicket fence. Rahul, making a comeback here after suffering a hamstring injury over a month ago, brought up his fifty in a healthy 61 balls. The highlight of his entertaining kncok came when he smacked left-arm spinner Rajesh Bishnoi over long-on and out of the ground. A wild waft outside off brought Rahul’s demise, with left-arm pacer Tanvir ul-Haq finding the outside edge.

His partner Samarth moved to his half-century without much fuss, before an incoming delivery from Pankaj Singh sneaked through between bat and pad.

Mayank, who came in at two-drop after a disappointing run as opener, stuck it out in the face of disciplined bowling. He took his time to find his feet, before recording his first fifty in five attempts. The 25-year-old fell for 81, trapped on the pads while playing the wrong line.

Rajasthan was hampered by the absence of in-form left-arm fast bowler Aniket Choudhary, who sat out due to a groin injury. Karnataka too had its share of bad luck, with all-rounder Abrar Kazi missing out due to suspected appendicitis. J. Suchith replaced Kazi in the eleven.