Kochi: Maharashtra opener Harshad Khadiwale missed his fourth ton of the season, but his 97-run knock played a big role in the visitors taking a 163run lead against Kerala in the Ranji Trophy Group ‘C’ match here on Sunday.
Resuming the day from a strong position of 106 for 1, Khadiwale added 30 more runs to his overnight score of 67 with firm support from S.D. Atitkar. In the second wicket partnership, both put on 72 runs to outdo Kerala’s first innings score of 151 runs.
Once C.P. Shahid had Khadiwale caught by Robert Fernandez at 97, Kerala received a golden chance for a comeback in the match. Maharashtra’s middle-order failed to capitalise on the good start as five wickets fell while adding 33 more runs to put them suddenly at 193 for 7 from 164 for 2.
One-down Atitkar (48) had tried his best to ward off the collapse but he soon found lonely at the other end witnessing four of his teammates walking back without making any useful contributions. Kerala spinners Shahid, Vinoop Manoharan and Prasanth gave no room for the visitors to regroup as they plucked consecutive wickets.
After the dismissal of Atitkar, caught by Fernandez off Manoharan, Maharashtra sensed trouble and Kerala had hopes of an early end of the innings. However, C.G.Khurana (45) and A.A. Darekar (52) added 79 runs, the second highest partnership, to propel the visitors to 272 runs.
In reply, Kerala scored 23 runs for no loss by stumps....