New Delhi: Kerala opener VA Jagadeesh on Saturday scored a fine unbeaten century to put his team in a position from which they can push for a sizeable first-innings total against Services in Palam. At stumps, Jagadeesh was batting on 126 and Kerala were 192 for 5 againt the home team in round five of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy.
Winning the toss, Services asked Kerala to bat after a delayed start due to a wet outfield. The visitors seemed in control in the first session after the openers Jagadeesh and Abhishek Hegde stitched together a 49-run stand; however, pace bowler Suraj Yadav gave the first breakthrough when he trapped Hegde lbw for 24.
At lunch, Kerala were 53 for 1 with Jagadeesh and Rohan Prem at the crease. After the break, Jagadeesh completed his 10th first class-fifty and looked in a good touch as Kerala improved their run-rate. However, Services hit back with the wickets of Prem (5) – caught at cover by Soumya Swain while trying to go over mid-on – and Sanju Samson (1) – found short of the crease by a brilliant throw from Shakti Malviya - in quick succession (93 for 3).
The opener carried his bat all day to deny Services the wicket they really wanted on day one in Palam.
Jagadeesh’s marathon continued from one end as he took the team’s score to 104 for 3 at tea with Robert Fernandez. Another change in attack worked for Services as skipper Soumit Chatarjee brought Yadav back into the attack. Fernandez, while trying to play a cut, gave an easy catch to wicketkeeper Sarabjit Singh. Jagadeesh proved impossible to dislodge and took 195 balls to complete his ton, with the help of 12 boundaries in his gritty knock.
Before Kerala could take a sigh of relief, pacer Shadab Nazar - who impressed with his bowling against Assam in the previous match - gave a fifth jolt to Kerala by dismissing Sachin Baby (18 off 75 balls). The fifth-wicket stand of 70 between Jagadeesh and Baby was the highest recorded for Kerala. For Services, Yadav was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 52 while Nazar and Malviya took a wicket each.
Brief scores: Kerala 192 for 5 in 85 overs (VA Jagadeesh 126*) v Services