Ranji Trophy: Saxena puts Kerala on top

Jalaj Saxena’s six-wicket haul restricted Rajasthan to 134 for six on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie in Thumba.

Jalaj Saxena took 6 for 46 to break the back of Rajasthan’s batting line-up on Wednesday.   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar (File Photo)

Jalaj Saxena took his third five-wicket haul of the season to place Kerala on top on the second day of its Group B Ranji Trophy match against Rajasthan at the St. Xavier’s – KCA cricket ground in Thumba on Wednesday.

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The lanky off-break bowler had conditions quite favourable to his style and the Indore-born utilised it to good effect to break the back of Rajasthan, restricting the visitor to 134 for six at stumps. Saxena kept the rival batsmen guessing in the final two sessions of the day before removing them one by one. Rajasthan still trails Kerala by 200 runs.

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The wicket, which favoured spin from the morning, was also of great help to the Kerala outstation professional who yet again used the crease well and received the support of his close-in fielders.

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For Rajasthan, only D.H. Yagnik (62) put up some resistance, scoring a well-timed half-century even as he saw the rest of his team-mates crumble under pressure. By the end of the day, Saxena had figures of six for 46.

Lomror 4 for 51

Earlier, resuming at 232 for 3, Kerala showed some sort of urgency through Sanju Samson and skipper Sachin Baby. After Samson (42) made his exit with the score at 266, the batsmen who followed were caught in the web of the Rajasthan spinners, among whom Mahipal Lomror was undoubtedly the star.

The young left-arm spinner finished with a haul of four for 51, which included the prized scalp of Sachin Baby (78, 142, 6 x 4, 1 x6) who had no clue of the delivery that went through his gate.

Brief Scores

Rajasthan 134 for 6 (Yagnik 62, Bishnoi 22*; Saxena 6 for 46) trails Kerala 334 (Prem 86, Saxena 79, Baby 78; Lomror 4 for 51) by 200 runs.