Ranji Trophy: Umesh, Fazal put Vidarbha in control

Umesh Yadav
Kerala batsmen found Umesh Yadav too hot to handle on the opening day of the semifinal. Photo: KCA
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Krishnagiri (Wayanad): Umesh Yadav wrecked Kerala with his career-best figures and Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal came up with a fine knock as the defending champions took control of the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Krishnagiri Stadium here on Thursday.

Vidarbha, despite losing three quick wickets in the final minutes of the opening day, were 171/5 in reply to Kerala's first innings total of 106 at stumps.

Kerala, playing their first semifinal in the premier domestic tournament, were blown away by the pace of Umesh after being put in to bat. The hosts were bundled out for 106 in just 28.4 overs as the Indian pacer returned figures of 7/48. Umesh's new ball partner Rajneesh Gurbani took 3/38.

Vishnu Vinod was the lone Kerala batsman to offer some resistance as he remained unbeaten on 37. Captain Sachin Baby (22) and Basil Thampi (10) were the other Kerala batsmen to make it to double digits.

After Fazal won the toss and invited the hosts to bat, Umesh struck twice in quick succession as he dismissed opener Mohammed Azharuddeen (8) and one-drop Sijomon Joseph (0).

Then, opener P Rahul was caught by Fazal (9) off Gurbani's bowling.

Umesh stuck twice again as he removed Vinoop Manoharan (0) and Arun Karthik (4) as the hosts were left reeling at 40/5.

Sachin was castled by Gurbani. All-rounder Jalaj Saxena (7) fell prey to Umesh as he was caught by Fazal.

Then, Thampi was caught by Akshay Wadkar and Sandeep Warrier (0) was bowled by Umesh.

M D Nidheesh (6) was the last man to go as he was caught and bowled by Gurbani.

Fazal (75) and opener Sanjay Ramaswamy (19) put on 33 for the first wicket before the latter was castled by medium-pacer Nidheesh. The in-form Wasim Jaffer (34) was caught by Karthick, who replaced an injured Sanju V Samson in the playing eleven, off Nidheesh's bowling. Jaffer and Fazal added 80 for the second wicket to take the visitors past the Kerala total.

Fazal was removed by Sandeep Warrier and Thampi sent back nightwatchman Gurbani for a duck late in the day. Warrier also accounted for Atharva Taide (23) off the day's final ball to give Kerala some hope. However, Vidarbha have already taken a handy lead of 65 and the home side will need a Herculean effort to turn it around.

Brief scores: Kerala 106 in 28.4 overs (Vishnu Vinod 37 not out; Umesh Yadav 7/48) vs Vidarbha 171/5 in 45 overs (Faiz Fazal 75).

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