Madhya Pradesh in trouble against Kerala at Kochi
Despite a valiant unbeaten 74 from skipper Amay Khurasiya, Madhya Pradesh were looking down the barrel of the gun at the end of the third day's play in their Ranji Trophy Plate semi-final against Kerala at Kochi on Monday.
Kerala, beginning the day on 78 for five, mustered a second-innings score of 185 before being bowled out. They had M Suresh Kumar to thank in large part; the lower-order bat made a steady 58 off 111 balls, with eight fours gracing his knock.
Equally important was Suresh Kumar's partnership of 62 with KN Ananthapadmanabhan for the eighth wicket, runs that would prove crucial in the larger context of the game. Once Suresh Kumar fell, however, Narendra Hirwani lost little time in wrapping up the tail and finishing with figures of four for 58 in 31.4 overs.
Madhya Pradesh were set a target of 230 for a win in this semi-final, and they made a poor start, reeling at one stage at 26 for three. Khurasiya played his lone hand at one end while wickets fell at the other, and the visitors ended the day on 126 for five, still 104 runs behind and with only five lower-order wickets in hand.