Ranji Trophy: Siddharth, Nischal put Karnataka in command

The two batsmen guided the host side to a comfortable 273 for four on the first day of their Ranji Trophy match against Chhattisgarh.

Siddharth (105, 186b, 11x4, 2x6) continued his dream debut season, notching up his second first-class hundred in seven matches.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The young duo of K.V. Siddharth and D. Nischal once again proved that they are more than capable of holding their own at the first-class level, striking fluent centuries against Chhattisgarh at Alur grounds here on Sunday.

The two batsmen, who were mates at Vardhaka Sangha School, guided Karnataka to a comfortable 273 for four on the first day of their Ranji Trophy match.

As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 8, Day 1

Siddharth, Nischal make merry

Siddharth (105, 186b, 11x4, 2x6) continued his dream debut season, notching up his second first-class hundred in seven matches. Opener Nischal (107 batting, 241b, 7x4), the more conservative of the two, showed tremendous patience to bat through the day.

Newly-appointed skipper Manish Pandey upped the scoring rate with a brisk 61-ball 40 but fell with only 21 balls to go for the close of play. Pandey smacked an expansive drive towards Ajay Mandal, who leapt high at point to snatch a blinder.

Pacer Pankaj Rao (four for 38) was effective with his inswingers, but the rest of the visiting attack did not pose much of a threat.

Heart-in-the-mouth moment

Siddharth nearly missed the three-figure mark, when he was adjudged leg-before to fast bowler Vishal Singh on 94. A no-ball review, however, found that the bowler had overstepped. Siddharth, who had trudged halfway to the pavilion, merrily skipped back to the crease.

He then hit left-arm spinner Mandal for a straight four to bring up his century. An excited Siddharth dropped his bat and reprised the crossed-arm goal celebration made famous by Paris Saint-Germain footballer Kylian Mbappe.

“I’m a Liverpool fan, but I like Mbappe,” Siddharth said, “It’s not possible to slide on my knees like Mbappe does with the pads on.”

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On the lucky escape in the 90s, Siddharth said, “I was praying my heart out that it was a no-ball.” The 26-year-old's prayers were not answered a short while later when he was taken out leg-before by Pankaj. Another no-ball review followed, but this time, the decision was upheld.

Solid display

Nischal, on the other hand, needed no heavenly intervention during the course of his solid knock. A steady player, Nischal was happy to take a big stride forward and defend the length deliveries.

When the bowlers erred in length, he was equally confident with his drives and cuts. His chanceless hundred came in the 89th over, with a neat flick to square-leg.

At Bengaluru

Karnataka 273 for four in 90 overs (D. Nischal 107 batting, K.V. Siddharth 105, Manish Pandey 40, Pankaj Rao four for 38) vs Chhattisgarh.

Toss: Chhattisgarh.