KC Akshay picked up a couple of wickets to leave Vidarbha reeling at 45 for 3. © KCA

KC Akshay picked up a couple of wickets to leave Vidarbha reeling at 45 for 3. © KCA

Kerala’s bowlers made early and severe dents into Vidarbha’s top order on a truncated opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal tie in Surat on Thursday (December 7).

A wet outfield delayed the start and allowed only 24 overs of play, which was time enough for Kerala, who have qualified for the knockout stage for the first time, to reduce their opponents to 45 for 3 after play finally goy underway in the final session at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium.

Electing to bat, Vidarbha were dealt a serious blow when Faiz Fazal, their captain who made four hundreds in the league stage, fell in the eighth over for just two, caught by Arun Karthik off MD Nidheesh. Worse was in store when KC Akshay, the other new-ball bowler, accounted for the wickets of Sanjay Ramaswamy (17) and Wasim Jaffer (12). Like Fazal, Sanjay was also coming into this game on the back of a century in the last league tie against Himachal Pradesh, one of three centuries for him in this campaign.

Ganesh Satish was unbeaten on seven at stumps with Karn Sharma, the nightwatchman, keeping him company.

Basil Thampi, who has been called into the Indian Twenty20 International team for the three-match series against Sri Lanka later this month, came on as the second-change bowler, sending down three overs for four runs.

Earlier, in a span of four and a half hours between 10 am and 2.30 pm, six inspections were made by Vineet Kulkarni and Virender Sharma before play finally started at 3.00 pm. The city had received a heavy pounding on Tuesday and even though it didn’t rain on Wednesday, the lack of sunshine meant it took a long time before the ground was match-ready.