Thalassery: Himachal Pradesh Thursday virtually dashed Kerala`s hopes of booking a semi-final berth by reducing the hosts to 249 for seven in their first innings at stumps on the penultimate day of their four-day Ranji Trophy Plate Group `A` match here.
Raiphy Vincent Gomez (51) and Prashant (22) were at the crease at the draw of stumps with Kerela still needing 204 runs to overtake HP`s first innings score of 452 for 8 declared.
With only a day left, the first innings lead would decide the qualifiers for the semis from the group. At present Kerala have 13 points while HP 12 and Vidarbha 14 points.
The highlight of Kerala`s first innings was a masterly 96 by Captain VA Jagadeesh and his 102-run second wicket stand with inform all-rounder Sony Cheruvathur (55). Jagadeesh struck seven boundaries and a huge six.
Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 34 for one, Jagadeesh and Cheruvathur batted sensibly but Himachal bowlers soon wrested back the initiative by claiming wickets at regular intervals.
Kerala, who were 112 for 2 at one stage, lost the next three wickets for the addition of only 13 runs.
HP`s Gurvinder Singh was the peak of the bowlers having bagged three wickets for 30 runs.
Brief Scores: HP first innings 452/8 decl and Kerala first innings 249 for 7 (at close) (V A Jagadeesh 96, SK Cheruvathur 55, R V Gomez 51 not out, Gurvinder Singh 3-30, Dhawan 2-75, Bali 2-41).