Bangalore: Lokesh Rahul's good run of form continued as the young batsman struck an unbeaten 150 to guide Karnataka to a comfortable position in their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match against Uttar Pradesh here yesterday.
KL Rahul. Pic/MiD DAY Freelancer SU
At stumps on the first day, hosts Karnataka were strongly placed at 326 for the loss of four wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Shreyas Gopal was batting on 88 at the close of play and, in the company of the in-form Rahul, added 178 runs for the fifth wicket. Uttar Pradesh won the toss and elected to field, hoping to utilise early morning's helpful conditions, but that was not to be as Karnataka rode on Lokesh's 256-ball knock and his 80-run partnership with Robin Uthappa (41).
There was a mini slide after Uthappa's dismissal as the hosts lost Manish Pandey and Karun Nair to Praveen Kumar in quick succession. However, there was no trouble for Karnataka thereafter as the duo of Rahul and Gopal frustrated the visitors with their composed batting. Rahul, who had scored a century in only his second Test
for India against Australia at Brisbane earlier this month, struck 22 boundaries and a six.
While Gopal's knock was studded with 15 hits to the fence. The experienced Praveen Kumar was the most successful bowler from the Uttar Pradesh outfit, the skipper returning figures of 3/34. Ali Murtaza was the only other bowler to get a wicket.
Karnataka 1st innings: 326/4 in 90 overs (KL Rahul batting 150, Shreyas Gopal batting 88; Praveen Kumar 3/34).