Ranji Trophy: Mayank continues fine form, unbeaten on 169

The Karnataka batsman, on the back of a memorable triple hundred in the last game, defined consistency; Manish Pandey stands out with 74.

Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal in action against Delhi at the Alur ground in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

Mayank Agarwal’s purple patch continued as he struck his fourth first-class century (169*, 235b, 23x4, 3x6) on day one of Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ encounter against Delhi at the Alur ground here on Thursday.

Coming on the back of his memorable unbeaten triple century against Maharashtra in Pune, Mayank’s innings put Karnataka in a commanding position. At stumps it was 348 for four, with Stuart Binny (14 batting) the other batsman at the crease.

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The home side, which elected to bat, made three changes with K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey coming in for D. Nischal and Pavan Deshpande, and Shreyas Gopal taking the place of Ronit More.

Rahul’s return though was short-lived as he was caught for nine trying to essay a pull off a ball. R. Samarth (58, 107b, 8x4) and Mayank treaded cautiously at first before unleashing their full range of strokes. The first 50 runs of the duo’s partnership had taken more than 100 balls. From 50 to 100 they raced at nearly six-an-over.


There were as many as nine boundaries in Mayank’s first fifty, but they were risk-averse; other than the tough return catch which left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra spilled with Mayank on 30.

In the post-lunch session, Mayank loosened up and Mishra bore the full brunt of the onslaught. This comprised all three of his sixes, including the two consecutive ones. He later brought up his century with a fine late cut off the other left-arm spinner Manan Sharma. He collected 95 runs off the tweakers.

Karun Nair started with two fine cover drives but squandered the chance to score big. But Manish (74, 107b, 9x4, 2x6), under the glorious afternoon sunshine, when the pitch flattened out, entertained the 100–odd fans who had assembled, cutting, driving and pulling with aplomb.

The stand-out shots were the two pulled boundaries off paceman Vikas Tokas to bring up his half-century and the flat six off Navdeep Saini. Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant took a fine low catch of Saini’s bowling to dismiss Manish. Still, the prognosis for Friday doesn’t look bright for Delhi.

“The wicket looks good, and the more runs we score, it will be easy for our bowlers,” opined Manish. “We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”

— Manish Pandey

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