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Kerala-HP match hangs in balance

In reply to Kerala's first innings total of 214, Himachal Pradesh folded for a meagre 174 in their first essay, courtesy a seven-wicket haul by P Prasanth (7/54).

However, the hosts themselves were bundled out for 155 in their second innings to set Himachal a target of 196. Chasing a modest total, Himachal were struggling at 110 for seven at the close of second day's play, still needing 86 with three wickets remaining.

Resuming on 164 for five in their first innings, Himachal lost both their overnight batsmen -- Nikhil Gangta and Vishal Bhatia -- early and that triggered a collapse. Himachal's lost five wickets for an addition of just 10 runs.

Kerala, in their second innings, also kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Skipper Sachin Baby was the top scorer with 43 runs. Bipul Sharma of Himachal was the pick of the bowlers with figures of four for 32.

For victory, Kerala needed 196 and they got off to a decent start with openers Ankush Bains (10) and Prasanth Chopra (36) putting on 48 for the first wicket but after their departure, the next four wickets fell for nine runs.

From 51 for two, they were suddenly reeling at 60 for five. But skipper Rishi Dhawan and Sangram Singh (15) steadied the boat and shared a valuable 50-run stand for the seventh wicket. At stumps, Dhawan was unbeaten on 33 and Vikramjeet Malik was yet to open his account.

Brief scores: Kerala: 214 & 155 all out (Sachin Baby 43, V Manoharan not out 39; Bipul Sharma 4/32). Himachal Pradesh: 174 all out (Nikhil Gangta 28; P Prasanth 7/54) & 110 for seven in 33 overs (Prasanth Chopra 36, Rishi Dhawan batting 33; V Manoharan 4/35).  

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