Bengaluru, Jan 24 (PTI) There were three attractive half-centuries but a top and lower-middle order collapse saw hosts Karnataka manage a below-par 264 for 9 against Saurashtra on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final on Thursday. Also Read - Karnataka Agriculture Minister Takes COVID-19 Vaccine at Home, Centre Seeks Report

After being reduced to 30 for 4 within the first hour, half-centuries from skipper Manish Pandey (62 off 67 balls), Shreyas Gopal (87 off 182 balls) and wicketkeeper S Sharath (74 batting, 177 balls) took Karnataka to 232 for 5 before they again lost wickets in a heap – four for 26 runs. Also Read - Coronavirus: 5 States Witness Spurt in Cases in 24 Hours, Maharashtra Extends Lockdown in 2 Districts | Key Points

If Saurashtra captain and strike bowler Jaydev Unadkat (4/50) blew away the top-order, it was veteran off-spinner spinner Kamlesh Makvana (3/73), who nearly polished off the lower-half. Also Read - Karnataka Man Strangles Leopard to Death in Battle of Survival, Hailed as Real Life George Kutty

Unadkat’s opening spell included the scalps of Krishnamurthy Siddharth (12 off 21), Ravikumar Samarth (0) and Test opener Mayank Agarwal, who made 2 runs off 30 balls.

Unadkat pitched the ball up and also got it to move both ways troubling the batsmen early morning.

Samarth and Siddharth got deliveries that straightened after pitching in line of the stumps while Agarwal nicked one that was moving away after pitching.

Unadkat’s new ball partner Chetan Sakariya removed the experienced Karun Nair (9) to leave Karnataka gasping at 30 for four.

The home team was in desperate need of a solid partnership and that was provided by skipper Pandey and Gopal, who shared 106 runs for the fifth wicket on a wicket that wasn’t doing much.

Pandey batted in a one-day mode, smashing four boundaries and three sixes.

After Unadkat cleaned up Pandey through the gate, Gopal joined hands with Sharath and duo shared 96 crucial runs to lend some respectability to Karnataka’s first innings total after they opted to bat at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Both Gopal and Sharath played with patience to frustrate the opposition.

Saurashtra, however, fought back towards close of play by dismissing Vinay Kumar, K Gowtham and Abhimanyu Mithun cheaply. Off-spinner Makvana took three crucial wickets before stumps were drawn.

Sharath was batting alongside number 11 Ronit More at close of play.

Brief Scores: Karnataka 264/9 in 90 overs (Manish Pandey 62 off 67, Mayank Agarwal 2 off 30, Shreyas Gopal 87 off 182, Srinivas Sharath 74 batting off 177 balls, Jaydev Unadkat 4/50, Kamlesh Makvana 3/73). PTI

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.