Thiruvanathapuram: Kerala, flying high after posting two successive wins, were brought down to earth by Madhya Pradesh who dominated the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match here on Wednesday.
After bundling out the hosts for a paltry 63, MP reached 161/2 at stumps – a lead of 98.
Kerala, who thrashed Bengal by 9 wickets, opted to bat on winning the toss. Last match's centurion Jalaj Saxena (2) was the first to go as he was clean bowled by medium-pacer Kuldeep Sen for two. Sen sent back Rohan Prem (0) and opener K B Arun Karthick (6) in quick succession to leave Kerala tottering at 10/3.
Sanju Samson's poor form continued as Sen's new ball partner Avesh Khan castled him. V A Jagadeesh (10)
and captain Sachin Baby (7) fell to the guile of leg-spinner Mihir Hirwani as the hosts were reduced to 27/6. Mihir, son of former Indian leggie Narendra Hirwani, returned figures of 2/22.
Vishnu Vinod (16) and Akshay Chandran (16) added 24 for the seventh wicket to take Kerala past the 50-run
mark. Avesh polished off the tail as the Kerala innings folded up in 35 overs. Vishnu, Chandran and
Jagadeesh were the lone Kerala batsmen to make it to double digits.
Though MP lost their opners with 57 on the board, an unbeaten stand of 104 between Rajat Patidar (70 batting)and Naman Ojha (53 batting) capped a fine day for the visitors.
Brief scores: Kerala 63 all out in 35 overs (Avesh Khan 4/8, Kuldeep Sen 3/17) vs Madhya Pradesh 161/2 in 53 overs (Rajat Patidar 70 batting, Naman Ojha 53 batting).