Mayank, Nischal sparkle

Mayank, Nischal sparkle

Karnataka produced an authoritative batting performance to bag the honours on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group 'A' match against Uttar Pradesh on Friday.  

The visitors made good use of  the batting-friendly surface at the Green Park stadium here after skipper R Vinay Kumar chose to bat. Mayank Agarwal continued his red-hot form with a quickfire 90 (73b, 16x4) while youngster D Nischal (90 n.o., 221b, 13x4), Karun Nair (62, 123b, 8x4) and Manish Pandey (63 n.o.,  79b, 9x4, 1x6) slammed quality knocks to take Karnataka to a strong 327/3 at stumps.  

Karnataka went into the game with two changes. Nischal came in for K L Rahul while speedster Abhimanyu Mithun was rested, giving Ronit More an opportunity.  

After two long innings (304 n.o. and 176), in which he exhibited patience and determination, it was Agarwal of the old here as he demolished the UP pace attack. The right-hander was back in his attacking mode and Karnataka scored at a good rate till he stayed at the crease.

UP got their first breakthrough when R Samarth (16) was caught behind off Dhruv Pratap Singh in the 15th over. The early blow didn't trouble Karnataka as they rode on a quick 55-run stand between Agarwal and Nischal to keep the UP attack at bay. Agarwal missed out on a ton as he edged one to the slips off Akshdeep Nath.  

Agarwal's departure pegged back Karnataka's  run rate but the 121-run partnership between Nischal and Karun left UP frustrated. Poor shot selection cost Karun, as he dragged a Dhruv Prathap delivery on to the stumps.  

Pandey then essayed a typically entertaining innings to strike his second straight half-century of the season. The unbroken stand of 91 between Nischal and Pandey has furthered strengthened Karnataka's chances of posting a huge first innings total.  

Nischal, who slammed a double century in the U-23 CK Nayudu Trophy before this game, said: "I did the basics right and played my natural game. Playing the U-23  match  before this tie helped me a lot and gave me good match practice. It was a good wicket to bat. Barring the final few overs, during which it was tough to sight the ball due to poor light, I batted freely."

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