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Ranji Trophy, Group B: Karnataka in Command Vs Delhi; Vidarbha Reach 254/3 on Day 1

A reckless batting performance saw Delhi bundled out for 90 runs, their lowest against Karnataka, who took a healthy 41-run first innings lead on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match in Kolkata on Thursday.

Put in to bat, the group B leaders Delhi lost their first wicket for zero and skipper Gautam Gambhir (2) was the second to go with an atrocious pull, while the inform Rishabh Pant, fresh from his 308 against Maharashtra, seemed to be in a hurry and got out for 24.

Delhi lost their top five batsmen for 65 runs with no intent to occupy the crease. Karnataka bowlers did not have to do anything extraordinary to dismiss them in 35.5 overs in two hours and 38 minutes in the extended first session.

Left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind, who replaced the injured skipper R Vinay Kumar, returned with 4/12 in his first match of the season while off-spinner K Gowtham scalped 3/26 and Abhimanyu Mithun picked up 2/29.

In reply, Karnataka showed Delhi the way as R Samarth (53) and Mayank Agarwal (56) put up a solid 87-run opening partnership.

Making a comeback after a bout of Chikungunya, India frontline pacer Ishant Sharma returned wicket-less and bowled just 10 overs in four short spells.

Sharma was expensive with the new ball giving four runs an over and Samarth, fresh from his career-best 235, hit the India pacer for six with a clean pull en route to his second half-century from as many matches.

It was Vikas Tokas (2/35) who gave the breakthrough when Samarth took an edge, before Karnataka lost two wickets for 10 runs to close the day for 124 for three at stumps on day one.

In anaother match, Ganesh Satish struck an unbeaten 93 while opener Sanjay Ramaswamy made 83 as Vidarbha produced a commanding batting display to reach 254 for three on the opening day against Assam.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, Ramaswamy and skipper Faiz Fazal (44) shared 68 runs for the opening wicket to lay the foundation for the total.

Then Ramaswamy and Satish joined hands and the duo piled the misery on the Assam bowlers with a 131-run second wicket stand.

Off-spinner Swarupam Purkayastha (3/86) picked up all the three wickets for Assam.

Jalaj Saxena (58 not out) and Sachin Baby (51 not out) put together 114 runs in their undefeated partnership to help Kerala overcome a jittery start against Hyderabad in their Group B match.

Opting to bat Kerala were reduced to five for one and then lost two wickets for two runs before lunch. But Baby and Saxena held fort and completed respective half-centuries to avert further slip-up.

Kerala were 223 for four at close on day one with Baby batting on 51 (6x4s), his second successive half-century of the season, while Saxena was unbeaten on 58 (11x4s).

This was also Saxena’s second half-century of the season after his 69 against Jammu and Kashmir in Kalyani in the Ranji opener.

Earlier, Hyderabad got off to a positive start with Chama Milind inducing an edge from VA Jagadeesh (5) in the fourth over of the day and wicket-keeper Kolla Sumanth did the rest behind the stumps.

Opener Bhavin Thakkar (38) put on 75 runs for the second wicket with skipper Rohan Prem (41) but the duo failed to convert their starts.

Pacer Pankaj Singh returned with a five-wicket haul to help Rajasthan bundle out Jharkhand for 209 in their first innings in Group B match.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Jharkhand witnessed a horrendous start, losing both their openers — Virat Singh and Anand Singh — without opening the score.

Kaushal Singh (56) and Ishank Jaggi (49) shared 96 runs for the sixth wicket to stabilise the Jharkhand innings before the eastern side lost wicket at regular intervals to bowled out in 73.5 overs.

Besides Kaushal and Jaggi, Pratyush Singh (33), Shahbaz Nadeem (24) and skipper Saurabh Tiwary (20) got starts before being failing to carry on their innings.

Apart from Pankaj, left-arm spinner Kukna Ajay Singh (2/32) and rookie pacer Nathu Singh (2/65) shared four wickets between them.

In reply, Rajasthan were 26 for no loss in 12 overs at the close of play.

PTI