Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group B: Kerala recover after Mishra’s four wickets for Delhi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Half-centuries by Jalaj Saxena (68) and Vinoop Sheela Manoharan (77) helped Kerala recover from 155 for six to 291 for seven at stumps against Delhi on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, the hosts suffered an early blow when opener V A Jagadeesh was bowled by Akash Sudan for a duck. The second-wicket partnership didn’t last long as one-drop batsman Vatsal (4) edged a delivery from Vikas Mishra to ‘keeper Anuj Rawat to leave Kerala at 17 for two.

Sanju Samson looked good during his knock of 24 before falling to offspinner Shivam Mishra in the 22nd over, and he struck again in the same over to send back captain Sachin Baby even before he could open his account.

Opener P Rahul (77), however, held firm and added 51 runs for the fifth wicket with Vishnu Vinod (24) to stabilise the innings. At lunch, Kerala were 109 for four, and lost Vishnu Vinod (24) to Shivank Vasisth a little after resumption. Rahul, who hit 10 fours and two sixes, was involved in a 46-run stand with Manoharan before being dismissed by Mishra (4 for 78).

Saxena and Manoharan played cautiously initially before going on to play some handsome shots. The experienced Saxena showed a lot of intent and made 68 off 113 balls before falling to Mishra in the final over of the day, handing back the advantage to Delhi.

Manoharan, meanwhile, played a patient knock to help Kerala recover from a spot of bother to a respectable score. Mishra was the best performer for Delhi, beginning life in the post-Gautam Gambhir era, with a good spell that saw him get the key wickets of Samson, Baby and Saxena.

Kerala made two changes, handing Vatsal a debut in place of K B Arun Karthick and Vinoop Manoharan for Akshay Chandran.

Brief scores: Kerala 291 for 7 in 89.3 overs (Jalaj Saxena 68, Vinoop Sheela Manoharan 77 batting, P Rahul 77, Shivam Mishra 4 for 78) vs Kerala.