Ranji Trophy: Kerala takes first-innings lead

Kerala managed to take a first-innings lead but encountered jitters in its second innings on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group C tie against Goa in Mumbai.

rohan prem

Rohan Prem stabilised Kerala's second innings with an unbeaten half-century after it was reduced to 34 for 3.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam (File Photo)

The third day of its ongoing Ranji Trophy match against Goa panned out to be a mixed one for Kerala at the Brabourne stadium here on Tuesday, even as it took the crucial first-innings lead in the Group C encounter.

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The plans of the side of wiping out the Goan tail, as the latter side resumed its unfinished essay at 169 for six, did not materialise until nine minutes into lunch and thereafter Kerala was forced to real jitters as it was all of a sudden reduced to 34 for 3 in its second innings.

However, towards the end of play, the side was pulled out of the woods by skipper Rohan Prem who a found a real good ally in young Mohammed Azharuddeen for an unbeaten century partnership.

The Goan lower-order batsmen, who on Monday late afternoon had shown lasting character, continued on with their good showing this morning as Saurabi Bandekar and Shadab Jakati kept the rival bowling at bay for a partnership of 97 runs before Iqbal Abdullah brought relief to the Kerala camp.

The fall of Bandekar, however, did not hasten the end of the Goan innings which was held together brilliantly by Jakati, who singled out Sandeep Warrier and Vinod Kumar for attack time and again. The Goan battled it out for his side to emerge as its top-scorer with a fine knock of 85. It was only after he exited that Kerala could close out the rival innings for a lead of 56 runs.

The Goans had their tail up as Kerala began its second innings. Bandekar with a fine opening spell sent Bhavin J. Thakkar, Samju Samson and Vishnu Vinod back into the pavilion almost in quick succession. And with Alemao too getting into the act by yorking Sachin Baby, Kerala was in dire straits at 54 for four.

However, Kerala kipper Rohan Prem, continuing his great form from the first innings, stood out for his side with aplomb. The southpaw, playing a waiting game, took his time to settle down and once he did so, the Kerala camp breathed easy as Prem and Azharuddeen guided the side to safety. Prem was all class as he tore into the Goan bowling for a well-deserved half-century and his partner Azharuddeen pleased with his attacking display en route to his first career 50-plus score.

Play for a second consecutive day was forced to be extended beyond regular hours due to poor over-rate. At stumps, which came about as the umpires upheld an appeal for bad light, Kerala was 154 for four, enjoying an overall lead of 210 runs.

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