Thumba: Veteran off-spinner Jalaj Saxena came up with a career-best bowling figures of 8/36 as Kerala thrashed Services by 204 runs in the Ranji Trophy Group C match to win their third game this season on Friday.
After setting Services a target of 341 to win the rubber, the 36-year-old all-rounder, a veteran of 131 first-class games, went about his task in a cool and calculated manner as he ended up with match figures of 11/102 for the match.
However, Kerala batter Sachin Baby was adjudged 'Player of the match' for his 159 and 93 in the both innings.
Services, starting at the overnight score of 20 without loss, were in for a nightmare as Jalaj, after initial resistance from Shubham Rohilla (28) and Sufiyan Alam (52), ran through their batting line-up.
The former Madhya Pradesh cricketer, who moved to Kerala a few seasons back, first got rid of Sufiyan, who had started to look dangerous.
But once the 27-year-old departed, run out by Jalaj off his own bowling, the tweaker took control of the proceedings.
From 80/2, Services were down to 98/5, with even veteran batters like skipper Rajat Paliwal -- a prolific run-scorer with a healthy average touching 45 -- going for duck in the 33rd over.
The contest ended in the 47th over with Jalaj taking the wicket of Poonam Poonia, trapping the tail-ender in front of the wicket.
Kerala are in contention for a place in the quarter-finals as they are placed second behind Karnataka with 19 points. Karnataka have one foot in the last-eight having earned 26 points so far.
In Thumba: Kerala 327 and 242 for 7 decl beat Services 229 and 136 in 46.4 overs (Jalaj Saxena 8/36) by 204 runs. Kerala 6. Services 0.
In Jamshedpur: Jharkhand 103 and 306 beat Chhattisgarh 113 and 312 in 114.3 overs (Amandeep Khare 151; Anukul Roy 5/45, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/87) by 44 runs.
Jharkhand 6. Chattisgarh 0.