Kanpur: Mayank Sidhana and Gitansh Khera struck gritty fifties to help Punjab recover from an early slump to reach 248 for eight at stumps on the opening day of their Group B Ranji Trophy cricket league encounter against Uttar Pradesh here.
UP medium-pacers rattled the Punjab top-order after inviting the visitors to bat at Green Park. Openers Manan Vohra (15) and Jiwanjot Singh (2) departed early while Uday Kaul (16),Mandeep Singh (25) and Yuvraj Singh (16) also could not last long.
It was then that Sidhana (85) and Khera (73 not out) stitched a 138-run sixth-wicket partnership to give some respectability to the visitors' score.
But out went Sidhana after his 141-ball stay at the crease, which was laced with 10 fours and a six and Punjab lost three more quick wickets.
Khera though has stood firm at one end only to be running out of partners.
Ankit Rajput led the charge by picking up three wickets while Praveen Kumar (2-76) and Akshdeep Nath (2-7) bagged two scalps apiece. Sharing the new ball with Praveen, Imtiaz Ahmed also chipped in with a wicket.
The two teams are battling hard to gain a quarterfinal berth with a couple of more league games left for both the sides.
Punjab 248/8 in 87 overs (Mayank Sidhana 85, Gitansh Khera 73 not out; Ankit Rajput 3-45).