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Kerala comfortably placed

JAMSHEDPUR, DEC. 4. A valuable 96-run partnership between opener Sebastian Antony (68) and skipper Sreekumaran Nair (71) put Kerala on a comfortable position on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group A Plate match against host Jharkhand at the Keenan Stadium here today. At close, Kerala was 222 for four in its first innings with Ajay Kudua batting on 24.

Electing to bat, Nathani and Sebastian Antony gave Kerala a good start before the former edged a simple catch to Rajiv Kumar at second slip off seamer S.S. Rao with the team score at 52.

Jagadish, who came after Nathani's dismissal, scored a quick 21 studded with four hits to the fence before he fell to left-arm spinner Nadeem caught by Ratan Kumar.

Then Nair joined Antony and together they put on a 96-run third-wicket partnership before left-arm spinner Shahid Khan struck to dismiss Antony (68, 5x4) leg before in the post-lunch session.

Nair (71, 6x4) and Ajay Kudua then added 41 runs for the fourth wicket before the former fell to seamer Mihir Diwakar caught by wicketkeeper Dhoni.

The scores:

Kerala — 1st innings: M. Nathani c Rajiv b S.S. Rao 23, S. Antony lbw b S. Khan 68, Jagadish c Ratan b Nadeem 21, Sreekumaran Nair c Dhoni b Diwakar 71, Ajay Kudua (batting) 24. Extras (b-3, lb-5, nb-7) 15. Total (for four wkts.) 222.

Fall of wickets: 1-52, 2-85, 3-181, 4-222.

Jharkhand bowling: S. Panda 17-5-39-0, M. Diwakar 14-3-40-1, S. Khan 20-5-43-1, S.S. Rao 13-5-35-1, S. Nadeem 19-5-36-1, M. Vardhan 1-0-4-0, Sunil Kumar 6-0-17-0. — PTI

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