Sachin Baby's unbeaten ton in Kerala's fine recovery

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Thumba (Thiruvananthapuram): Veteran domestic cricketer Sachin Baby smashed his ninth first-class century as hosts Kerala reached a modest 254 for six on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group C match against Services here on Tuesday.

Sachin came in at a crucial phase of Kerala's innings with the hosts reeling at 4/19 in just the ninth over.

The 34-year-old Sachin, who is nearing the 4,000-run landmark in first-class cricket, played cautiously and took his time to settle down before forging fruitful partnerships with Salman Nizar (42) and Akshay Chandran (32).

At stumps, Sachin was holding fort with skipper Sijomon Joseph, who was unbeaten on 29.

With the two batters firmly set, crossing the 300-plus score in the first session of play on day two will give Kerala the psychological edge.

Earlier, Services quicks Poonam Poonia (2/31) and Diwesh Pathania (2/31) put Kerala in a spot of bother with the two reducing the hosts to 4/19.

Opener Jalaj Saxena was the first to depart for eight runs trapped in front of the wicket, while Ponnan Rahul, after facing 13 deliveries, was dismissed for duck.

Rohan Prem and Vathsal Govind too went cheaply with the two bowlers taking a wicket each.

But from there on Sachin Baby ensured the hosts' recovery, hardly playing any audacious shots and preferring to take the ground route even when he got the opportunity to go for the maximum.

Sachin's cautions approach can be gauged from the fact that he scored only 11 boundaries in his 235-ball stay on day one, with most of his runs coming in singles and twos.

Brief scores:

At Jamshedpur: Jharkhand 103 in 32.1 overs (Pankaj Kumar Rao 3/27, Ravi Kiran 5/42, Vasudev Bareth 2/27) vs Chhattisgarh 95/8 in 43 overs (Avnish Dhaliwal batting 46; Ashish Kumar 3/37, Vikash Singh 3/15, Shahbaz Nadeem 2/41).

At Alur: Rajasthan 129 in 45.3 overs (Karan Lamba 31, Kunal Singh Rathore 33; Vasuki Koushik 4/37, Vijaykumar Vyshak 4/50) vs Karnataka 106/2 in 30 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 49, Devdutt Padikkal 32; Aniket Choudhary 2/40).

At Thumba: Kerala 254/6 in 90 overs (Sachin Baby batting 133, Salman Nizar 42, Akshay Chandran 32; Diwesh Pathania 2/31) vs Services.

At Porvorim: Goa 223 in 84 overs (Eknath Kerkar 41, Darshan Misal 50 n.o.; Sagar Udeshi 5/76, Abin Mathew 2/45) vs Puducherry 17 for no loss in 4 overs.


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