There were three attractive half-centuries but a top and lower-middle order collapse saw hosts Karnataka score a modest 264/9 against Saurashtra on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final in Bangalore on Thursday, PTI reported.

After being reduced to 30/4 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*) took Karnataka to 232/5 before they once again lost wickets in a heap – four victims for just 26 runs.

If Saurashtra captain 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.

Unadkat’s opening spell included the wickets of Krishnamurthy Siddharth (12), Ravikumar Samarth (0). The left-armer also dismissed India’s latest Test debutant Mayank Agarwal, who only accounted for a couple of runs. Unadkat pitched the ball up and also got it to move both ways, rattling the batsmen in the first session.

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 reeling.

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 one-day mode, smashing four boundaries and three sixes. After Unadkat cleaned up Pandey, 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 no 11 Ronit More at close of play.

Brief Scores: Karnataka 264/9 (Manish Pandey 62, Shreyas Gopal 87, Srinivas Sharath 74; Jaydev Unadkat 4/50, Kamlesh Makvana 3/73) vs Saurashtra