Ranji Trophy: Kalsi and Dhawan help Himachal take lead over Tamil Nadu

DHARAMSALA: Ankit Kalsi (99*) closed in on his third First-Class century as Himachal Pradesh put up a strong batting show to extend their lead to 117 after ending day two of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture against Tamil Nadu at 340 for five, on Sunday.

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Kalsi, Raghav Dhawan (71) and Rishi Dhawan (71 batting) helped Himachal Pradesh seize the advantage after their side lost early wickets. Tamil Nadu had scored 225 in their first innings. Raghav (191 balls, 11×4) held firm after the hosts resumed at 25 for 1, as the visitors looked to pick up quick wickets. GK Singh (8) was the first to go this morning as T Natarajan had him caught by B Indrajith.

Ankush Bains fell after after putting on 26 runs with Dhawan as he was bowled by Abhishek Tanwar for 8 to leave HP at 57 for 3. Opener Raghav and Nikhil Gangta (43) forged an important partnership for the fourth wicket to steady the ship. They added 74 runs in over 23 overs.

The exit of Gangta brought Raghav and the left-handed Kalsi together. They started cautiously but grew in confidence to thwart the Tamil Nadu bowlers. Their 90-run association for the fifth wicket brought the host back into contention as the TN bowlers tried hard to pull things back. Later, the unbroken 119-run stand between Kalsi and Rishi, took the game away from Tamil Nadu.

After a period of circumspect batting, Kalsi and Rishi, especially the latter, took the attack to the rival camp. Rishi looked in good touch, slamming 13 fours in his 82-ball knock of 71. Kalsi, on his part, has hit 15 boundaries so far. Tamil Nadu skipper Indrajith tried seven bowlers but HP batsmen were more than adept in handling their challenge.

Brief Scores: Himachal Pradesh 340 for 5 (Ankit Kalsi 99*, Raghav Dhawan 71,; M Mohammed 2 for 67) lead Tamil Nadu 227 all out (B Aparajith 53, Abhishek Tanwar 44, Dinesh Karthik 31, Pankaj Jaiswal 3 for 45) by 115 runs.