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Ankit leads fightback

Hyderabad: A gutsy unbeaten 89 by middle-order batsman Ankit Bawne and a half-century by opener Chirag Khurana helped Maharashtra reach a respectable 272 for five at stumps on the first day of the Ranji Trophy final against Karnataka, here, on Wednesday.

Opting to bat, Maharashtra lost in-form opener Harshad Khadiwale (15) early. But Khurana (64) played the role of a sheet anchor to perfection for one-and-half session as Maharashtra were able to conjure up three 50 plus partnerships, which helped them reach a decent total on a slow Uppal track.

Bawne’s undefeated knock of 89 comprised 10 boundaries and he faced 172 deliveries in the process. Opener Khurana also hit eight fours in his 145-ball knock.

India’s under-19 captain Vijay Zol (5), who was specially permitted by the BCCI to play the final, didn’t last long. Kedar Jadhav looked fluent during his short stay at the crease, but was the victim of a poor decision by umpire Anil Chaudhary.

For Karnataka, medium-pacer Abhimanyu Mithun was the most successful bowler taking two for 44 in 19 overs. Captain Ranganath Vinay Kumar (1/56), Sreenath Aravind (1/62) and Karun Nair (1/21) were the others who chipped in.

In fact, Karnataka started off on a positive note as Vinay got one to shape in after pitching, catching Khadiwale plumb in front.

Zol never looked comfortable during his 28-ball stay at the wicket.