J&K squander advantage after batsmen flounder

Srinagar—Jammu and Kashmir batsmen undid their bowlers’ terrific work conceding a first innings to Kerala on the second day of their group B fixture of Ranji Trophy 2017-18 played at St Xavier’s College Ground, Thiruvananthapuram. The visiting bowling unit led by their skipper Parvez Rasool had Kerala bowled out for 219 on the first day, but Thursday saw the home side staging a revival thanks to their bowlers who shot out J&K  for just 173.

The 46-lead was made possible by Kerala bowlers’ disciplined effort aided by lack of application from J&K batsmen. With a small yet important lead in the bag, Kerala ended the day 45 for the loss of one wicket. Opener Vishnu Vinod slammed a couple of sixes before Ram Dayal castled him but his partner Jalaj Saxena and Rohan Prem saw Kerala to the stumps without losing anymore wickets.

The visitors had a cautious yet solid start with openers Ahmad Banday and Shubham Khajuria putting on 82 for the first wicket. Both young batsmen batted with skill and sensibility before Kerala dismissed them in space of nine balls. Khajuria was the first one to go for 41 and Banday contributed 35. J&K slumped to 86 for the loss of four wickets before Parvez and Bandeep Singh added 53 for the fifth wicket. Parvez-the hero of the first day taking six wickets-looked good for a big one but Sijomon Joseph had him leg before the wickets for 28. Once Bandeep was dismissed from 39 , there was no fight from J&K late order as the visitors were bowled out for 173.

For the hosts, Saxena and Sijomon Joseph took three wickets each but the pick of the bowlers was Akshay Chandran who pocketed a excellent figures of 4 for 37.

A lead of 95 in the pocket, Kerala would want to swell it on Friday and then back their bowlers to defend anything against a struggling J&K side.

Brief scores: Kerala 219 & 45/1 (Jalaj Saxena 16*) lead J&K 173 (Shubham Khajuria 41; Akshay Chandran 4-37, Sijomon Joseph 3-35) by 91 runs.

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