Mayank Agarwal tamed the Kerala attack and hit a brilliant double century (208, 360b, 17*4, 5*6) to put Karnataka in command at the end of Day three of the Ranji Trophy match against Kerala at the KCA-St.Xavier’s College ground on Thursday.
Karnataka took a vital 68-run first innings lead after ending the penultimate day at 410 for the loss of six wickets. With the odd ball turning and bouncing, Karnataka will fancy its chances of forcing a win on Friday. At stumps, wicketkeeper B.R. Sharath was batting on 47 and Shubhang Hedge was unbeaten on eight.
It was a long day for Kerala which failed to seize the chances that came its way and allowed Karnataka to dominate. Shoun Roger at first slip failed to latch on to a sharp chance when Mayank Agarwal was batting on 168.
Wicketkeeper P. Rahul then missed a stumping and handed B.R. Sharath a life and the Karnataka keeper-batsman ended the day with a valuable unbeaten 47.
In the morning, Mayank and Nikin Jose used their feet well to smother the spin and put away the bad deliveries for boundaries. Mayank took on Jalaj Saxena early in his spell, depositing the off-spinner over long on for a straight six and followed it up with an on drive.
Nikin found his touch to complete his half-century. However, Kerala stuck twice in quick succession before lunch as Akshay induced an outside edge to remove Nikin and Jalaj dismissed Manish Pandey for a golden duck as the India international was caught in the leg slip.
Mayank after batting cautiously for a major part of the second session suddenly changed gears and slammed Nidheesh for a six and a couple of boundaries to move from 185 to 203 in just six balls.
Vaisakh ended Mayank stay’s as the batter edged him to short leg.
There was noticeable drop in scoring rate after Mayank’s dismissal as only 70 runs came in the post Tea session which also saw the dismissal of Shreyas Gopal caught at short leg for 48.
Sharath showed some urgency by playing a few shots at the fag end of the day’s play.
Kerala 1st innings 342 | Karnataka 1st innings 410/6 Stumps Day 3 | R. Samarth b Vaisakh 0, Mayank Agarwal c Vathsal b Vaisakh 208, Devdutt Padikkal b Nidheesh 29, S.J. Nikin Jose c Shoun b Akshay 54, Manish Pandey c Kunnummal b Jalaj 0, Shreyas Gopal c Vathsal b Jalaj 48, B.R. Sharath batting 47, Shubhang Hegde batting 8;
Extras (nb 2, b 11, lb 3): 16; Total 410/6; Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-91, 3-242, 4-243, 5-336, 6-378; Kerala Bowling – Vaisakh 30-4-87-2, Nidheesh 27-5-76-1, Jalaj 35-2124-2, SIjomon 27-3-77-0, Akshay 18-4-32-1.