Ranji Trophy: Pacers call the shots on a lively pitch

Medium pacers Sandeep Warrier and Vinod Kumar made it a good day for Kerala, but a string of dropped catches and a defiant half century by Rohit Sharma helped Haryana close the opening day at 227 for eight in the Ranji Trophy group-C league match at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Saturday.

Sandeep Warrier bagged four wickets for Kerala.   -  P.K Ajith Kumar

Medium pacers Sandeep Warrier and Vinod Kumar made it a good day for Kerala, but a string of dropped catches and a defiant half century by Rohit Sharma helped Haryana close the opening day at 227 for eight in the Ranji Trophy group-C league match at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Saturday.

On a grassy pitch that offered a lot of lift, the 25-year-old Sandeep Warrier bagged four wickets. After having taken nine wickets in the first four matches of the season, it was a welcome return for Sandeep.

However, it was Vinod Kumar who made Haryana struggle as he rattled the top order, with a three wicket haul, barely giving two runs per over in 20 overs. After struggling to 68 for three at lunch and 143 for six at tea, Haryana was able to score a bit more freely, thanks to a patient unbeaten 51 by Rohit Sharma who struck seven 4s in his 135-ball knock.

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In trying to speed up the bowling rate, Kerala had to rely on the slow bowlers and Jalaj Saxena struck by dismissing Yuzvendra Chahal.

Kerala was guilty of dropping at least half a dozen catches through the day and that may prove costly eventually.

It was a good reading of the situation when Kerala opted to bowl after winning the toss. The medium pacers made the batsmen play most of the time which made it an interesting contest on a lively pitch.

It will be interesting to see how Haryana responds tomorrow, especially in the absence of Joginder Sharma who was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.