Ranji Trophy: Mayank Agarwal’s purple patch continues at Green Park

Sound knocks from Mayank Agarwal (90), D. Nischal (90 batting), Manish Pandey (63 batting) and Karun Nair (62) embellished Karnataka’s professional performance where the focus was on accumulating runs by the staying at the wicket. Karnataka, electing to bat, finished the day at 327 for three.

Mayank Agarwal tore into the UP attack with a 73-ball 90, an innings that reaffirmed his superb form.   -  Special Arrangement

 

There was not a moment of discomfort for Karnataka on the opening day of its Group `A’ Ranji Trophy match against Uttar Pradesh here on Friday. Well placed to top the group, Karnataka, electing to bat, finished the day at 327 for three.

Scorecard

Sound knocks from Mayank Agarwal (90), D. Nischal (90 batting), Manish Pandey (63 batting) and Karun Nair (62) embellished Karnataka’s professional performance where the focus was on accumulating runs by the staying at the wicket.

The Green Park pitch offered few challenges to the batsmen and it reflected in Uttar Pradesh relying on pace to counter Karnataka’s domineering march this season. “The pitch was slightly slow at the start but the ball came on nicely later. I just followed the basics,” said Nischal.

Agarwal wasted a chance to hit his third century of this year’s Ranji campaign after demonstrating his penchant for big scores with that scintillating triple century against Maharashtra at Pune. Here Agarwal tore into the UP attack with a 73-ball 90, an innings that reaffirmed his superb form. This flawless knock took his aggregate to 624 runs from seven innings as Karnataka thrived on his all-round assault after the early dismissal of R. Samarth, who was foxed by the late swing to be caught behind.

The 66-run opening stand was strengthened by a 55-run association for the next wicket between Agarwal and Nischal (221 balls, 13x4). The session was dominated by Agarwal who contributed the major chunk of runs for Karnataka, hitting 16 boundaries, before he was taken at slip as he lapsed in concentration.

From 139 for two at lunch Karnataka progressed smoothly even though the scoring rate dipped but no wicket was lost. Karnataka added 91 runs in the post lunch session as Nair dug in and Nischal worked to consolidate his position in the team. In only his second match, Nischal confirmed the long list of batting talent emerging from the Karnataka cricket factory.

Nischal’s footwork was exemplary as he negotiated the seamers with plenty of time to place his strokes. Nair (123 balls, 8x4) needed little time to get into his rhythm but lost his wicket to a poor shot when he dragged an innocuous delivery onto the stumps. Nair, like Agarwal, ought to have celebrated the day with a century but both fell to indiscretion.

Nischal, barring a fag end inner edge flying past the stumps, batted with composure and skill to gather 115 runs for the third wicket with Nair. His temperament to hang in separated him from the rest and his 91-run association for the fourth wicket with Manish Pandey (79 balls, 9x4, 1x6) completed a fine day for Karnataka.

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