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Second-placed Kerala were on the backfoot on the opening day after pacer Siddharth Kaul’s six-wicket haul helped Punjab bowl them out for a paltry 121 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy 2018-19 Round 8 Elite B match on Sunday.

Opting to bowl, Punjab required just 37 overs to wrap up the Kerala innings at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. Wicketkeeper-batsman Vishnu Vinod top scored with 35.

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None of the Kerala batsmen fired on the day. Kaul began wrecking havoc in the 13th over when he trapped opener Rahul P for 20. He next sent Mohammed Azharuddeen lbw for 8. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Sanju Samson was cleaned up for just 14, while captain Sachin Baby added just 2.

Jalaj Saxena, who has been among runs this season, added just 11 before he was caught by Yuvraj Singh to give his fourth wicket. Kaul claimed the last wicket of Kerala – Vinod – who received no support at the other end and departed for 35 after facing 52 deliveries.

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Kaul returned with figures of six for 55 in his 15 overs.

In reply, Basil Thampi had Shubman Gill (24) and Anmolpreet Singh for a duck, but Punjab ended the day on 135 for 2, well in control of the game at stumps.

Brief scores: Punjab 135/2 (Jiwanjot Singh 67*, Mandeep Singh 41*) lead Kerala 121 all out (Siddarth Kaul 6/55) by 14 runs