Nadaun (Himachal Pradesh): Himachal Pradesh have all but dashed Kerala’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy. The hosts, who secured a first innings lead of 11 runs, were 285/8 at stumps on the third day of their Elite Group B match. Himachal, who need an outright win to progress to the knockout stage, would be looking to bowl out Kerala and secure six precious points on the final day on Thursday.
Kerala need a win with a bonus point to progress and the visitors would be hoping to at least end the season on a high on the final day.
Rishi Dhawan (85) and Ankit Kalsi (64) scored aggressive half-centuries as Himachal reached 285/8 in 52.1 overs in their second innings. The two added 106 runs for the third wicket.
Earlier, a sensational batting collapse saw Kerala concede the first innings lead to Himachal.
Kerala, who resumed on 219/5, lost their final five wickets for a mere 18 runs to be bundled out for 286 – 11 short of the home side’s first innings total of 297. The overnight pair of Rahul P and Sanju V Samson took the total to 268 as Kerala looked all set to gain the lead. But once Sanju (50) was dismissed by medium-pacer Arpit Guleria, Kerala lost their way.
New batsman Vinoop Manohran fell in the same over for a duck. Rahul, who made a fine 127, was trapped in front of the wicket by Dhawan as Kerala lost three wickets without the addition of a single run. The left-handed Rahul’s 254-ball knock contained 15 fours and a six.
Guleria and Dhawan picked up the last two Kerala wickets as the hosts made sure of the first innings lead. Guleria returned figures of 5/47, while Dhawan claimed 3/68.
Brief scores: Himachal Pradesh 297 and 285/8 in 52.1 overs (Rishi Dhawan 85, Ankit Kalsi 64; Sijomon Joseph 4/51) vs Kerala 286 in 87 overs (Rahul P 127, Sanju V Samson 50; Arpit Guleria 5/47, Rishi Dhawan 3/68).
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