Agarwal ton rescues Karnataka from precarious situation
He and S Sharath added 117 in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand to take the side to 229 for 5 at stumps
Karnataka 229 for 5 (Agarwal 110*, Sharath 58*, Kushang 2-64) vs Saurashtra
Mayank Agarwal hit his third century of the season to rescue Karnataka on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final against Saurashtra at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
At stumps, Agarwal was unbeaten on 110, and his unbroken partnership with wicketkeeper-batter S Sharath was worth 117, as Karnataka recovered from a precarious 112 for 5 to 229 for 5 on a surface that had enough in it for the bowlers all day long.
Saurashtra won a good toss, and struck twice in the first half-hour with the wickets of R Samarth and Devdutt Padikkal. Kushang Patel, who may have not played had Jaydev Unadkat been available, drew first blood with he had Samarth nicking to third slip with a loose shot in the sixth over.
In the ninth, Padikkal was out nibbling at an away-going delivery from left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya as Sheldon Jackson gobbled up a simple catch at first slip. Agarwal and Nikin Jose, in his debut season, saw off the rest of the session without much trouble, before Kushang had Jose nicking behind off the third delivery after lunch.
Agarwal had a wobbly start in which he was reprieved on 13 by Snell Patel in the slips. But with wickets falling from the other end, Agarwal brought out another side to his game, one of self-restraint, as Karnataka attempted a rebuild. But when Manish Pandey fell looking to hoick one over midwicket, they were in dire need of a partnership.
Shreyas Gopal, the centurion of the previous game, should have been out first ball but was reprieved as replays confirmed Kushang had overstepped. But he didn't last long, and was out trying to steal a single as substitute fielder Samarth Vyas came up with a one-handed pick-up-and-throw to effect a direct hit from cover-point.
However, Agarwal and Sharath then joined hands and blunted the bowling. Spin wasn't introduced until the 44th over, and when Dharmendrasinh Jadeja finally came on, Agarwal was well set.
Sharath, playing in only his second game this season, was stodgy in defence and kept giving Agarwal the strike for him to combat much of the fast-bowling threat, especially Sakariya's as he swung the ball both ways.
Sharath ended the day unbeaten on 58 and walked off to a huge round of applause from his captain and his team-mates.