Ranji Trophy: Sachin, Akshay make merry in drawn game

Sachin Baby made his highest score and Akshay Chandran hit his maiden hundred as Kerala got three points for taking the first innings lead, while Services had to be satisfied with one. Kerala took its tally to 25 points to finish fifth in the group.

Sachin Baby was awarded with Man-of-the-match for his blistering unbeaten knock of 250 runs.   -  Special Arrangement

The Ranji Trophy Group C match ended predictably in a draw at the Karnail Singh Stadium, but not before Sachin Baby made his highest score and Akshay Chandran hit his maiden hundred.

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Sachin was 250 not out (425b, 22x4, 4x6) when the match was called off, while Akshay was batting on 102 (231b, 7x4, 1x6). Kerala was 518 for six in reply to Services’ 322.

Kerala got three points for taking the first innings lead while Services got one. Kerala took its tally to 25 points to finish fifth in the group.

Hyderabad and Haryana, with 31 points apiece, entered the quarterfinals from Group C, in which nine teams competed. Andhra ended up third with 28 points, followed by Himachal Pradesh (26). Services finished with 16 points and took the seventh place, below Goa (18).

It truly was a frustrating day for Services on Saturday, as it failed to take even a single wicket. Once again, there was a late start to the day because of fog.

Kerala resumed at the overnight 271 for five, with Sachin not out on 112 and Akshay on six. They went on to add 257 for the unfinished sixth wicket. It is, by some distance, the highest sixth wicket partnership for Kerala in First Class cricket. The record had belonged to Rohan Prem, the current captain, and P. Prashanth, who had put on 136 against Assam at Silchair in 2007-08.

Both the men went past their previous highest scores comfortably. Sachin had scored 200 not out against Hyderabad at Krishnagiri (Wayanad) two years ago while Akshay had not even made a fifty in his six previous Ranji Trophy matches, with 41 not out against Tripura at Perinthalmanna last year being his highest.

Sachin, expectedly, was named Man-of-the-Match. “This is perhaps the best knock of my career,” he told Sportstar. “Batting was a bit difficult in the morning because of the weather, but later on the wicket eased out.”

He said the team was undone by the weather. “We lost so much time because of fog and bad light,” he said. “If light was better today in the final session, I could have even tried to get a triple hundred.”