Ranji Trophy: Rahul century takes Karnataka closer to victory

K. L. Rahul scored an electric 106 off 131 balls to caste aside any doubt over his fitness and help Karnataka set a target of 525 against Rajasthan in their Group B tie in Vizianagaram. In reply, Rajasthan slumped to 118 for six.

K. L. Rahul struck 13 fours and four sixes to record his 12th first-class hundred.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar (File Photo)

Karnataka dominated proceedings on the third day to leave Rajasthan in dire straits in their Ranji Trophy Group B fixture here on Tuesday. Sitting pretty on a 304-run lead at the start of play, Karnataka scored at a rapid rate to declare on 298 for six. In reply, Rajasthan slumped to 118 for six, miles adrift of the 525-run target.

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In the morning session, K. L. Rahul cast aside any doubt surrounding his fitness with an electric 131-ball 106. Armed with a license to go after the bowling, the opener struck 13 fours and four sixes to record his 12th first-class hundred. He was gifted a reprieve, on 57, when Tanvir-ul-Haq put down a regulation catch at long-off. A mistimed pull brought his end, and shortly after the dismissal, Rahul left the venue to join the Indian squad at Visakhapatnam.

His partner R. Samarth (55, 60b, 11x4) could add only nine runs to his overnight score, but did manage to register his second fifty of the match.

Robin Uthappa (39, 53b, 7x4, 1x6) and Mayank Agarwal (63, 80b, 6x4, 1x6) piled on the agony, before skipper Vinay Kumar declared around an hour after lunch.

Vinay and S. Aravind, wreckers-in-chief in the first essay, once again played havoc. Opener Manender Singh and one-drop Pranay Sharma both flashed outside off-stump to fall to the pacers, leaving the side at five for two. Things did not get much better for Rajasthan, which lost a further four wickets with little to show for it. A complete lack of application was apparent for all to see, and the Karnataka bowlers made the most of it.