A patient unbeaten 85 by opener Nischal Gaur helped Himachal Pradesh finish the first day of their North Zone Ranji Trophy clash against Jammu & Kashmir on 222/5 from 90 overs.

After winning the toss and taking first strike at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu, the visitors lost wicketkeeper Arun Verma in the fourth over of the innings. Gaur and skipper Rajiv Nayyar consolidated with a slow but steady 73-run association in all of 38.5 overs. Nayyar, who entered the record books against the same opponents last season with a 1015-minute occupation of the crease in scoring 271, was bowled for 45 to give Surinder Singh his second wicket of the innings.

Although Amit Sharma was dismissed in the succeeding over, Gaur continued the good work in the company of middle order bats Sangram Singh and, in particular, Virender Sharma who struck a swift 44 off just 48 balls. Both the latter batsmen were scalped by J&K skipper and mediumpacer Abdul Qayoom but Gaur, who struck 14 boundaries in a 267 ball knock, saw Himachal safely through to stumps in the company of Richi Kapoor.