Kerala, failing to capitalise on a good toss, found itself placed back to the wall on the opening day of its four-day Group B Ranji Trophy match against Saurashtra at the St.
Xavier’s-KCA cricket ground, Thumba, on Friday.
On a pitch which played true, the home team could not have bargained for more than winning the spin of the coin. But then, its batsmen, with the sole exception of Sanju V. Samson, failing, the home team lost its way midway through to be restricted to 225 in its first innings. At stumps, Saurashtra was 37 for no loss in reply, going through the last ten overs of the day.
The beginning itself was in no way auspicious for Kerala which lost both its openers – Mohammed Azharudden and Jalaj Saxena – with only 39 runs on the board. There was some recovery as Rohan Prem and Sanju put on a fine 82-run stand for the third wicket.
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But having stuck together with Sanju, who once again was in fine nick, Prem went for a sweep to a delivery that came in slow and resultantly paid the penalty in the last over before lunch.
The home team was to lose its remaining seven wickets with the addition of only 104 runs as Dharmendra Jadeja and Jivrajani spun a web around the rival batsmen for rich dividends.
This after Sanju (68) was castled by Unadkat, the ball coming in sharply and the batsmen late with his shuffle. Sachin Baby, the home team skipper, was once again an abject failure and so too was the case with K. B. Arun Karthick who gifted his wicket going for a rash stroke.
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Dharmendra Jadeja, who bowled with professional zeal and acumen, was the pick of the Saurashtra bowlers, returning with a haul of six for 112, while Unadkat and Jivrajani shared the remaining four.