Punjab lived up to the template set by Vikram Rathour. Prior to the contest, the visitor's coach had hoped about winning the toss and batting big.

Luck favoured Uday Kaul at the toss and three batsmen found their sparkle against Karnataka, to partially fulfil Rathour's dream on a placid pitch in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match that commenced at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.

At close on the first day, Punjab had scored 278 for four in 91 overs with Sarul Kanwar, Karan Goel and Mayank Sidhana helping Rathour and Kaul breathe easy, though a lot more work remains to be done.

Kanwar (89, 98b, 11x4, 3x6) essayed nonchalant shots against S. Arvind and N.C. Aiyappa and a six off Stuart Binny within the very first hour, revealing his aggressive streak.

Kanwar's partner Ravi Inder Singh played the waiting game and Punjab relished its maiden 50-run partnership for the first wicket, this season. The openers stretched their alliance to 101 before a mix-up left Inder Singh stranded.

Soon Kanwar enjoyed a reprieve on 74 when Sunil Raju dropped him at mid-off while K.P. Appanna sulked and it got worse for the left-arm spinner as he was carted for a six.

Raju made amends by trapping Kanwar on the shuffle.

In the afternoon, Goel (71, 194b, 10x4) and Sidhana (61 n.o., 134b, 6x4, 1x6) helped Punjab move ahead.

Aiyappa prised out skipper Kaul with wicketkeeper C.M. Gautam taking a sharp diving catch.

Southpaw Goel was strong off his legs and also eased his runs past cover.

Sidhana meanwhile preferred his runs straight down the ground and when part-timer Amit Verma tossed it up, he pummelled a six into the Members Stand.

Goel and Sidhana raised 107 runs for the fourth wicket until Aiyappa (two for 30), bowling around the wicket, found his mark. Goel failed to get fully forward and the seamer rattled the stumps.

Luckily for Punjab, there were no further alarms on a day that began with the bad news of its mainstay Mandeep Singh's (458 runs) failure to recover from an ankle injury.

Later in the evening, the host's spearhead Arvind underwent an MRI scan to check an injured knee. A clearer picture about his fitness will emerge on Wednesday.

The scores: Punjab — 1st innings: S. Kanwar lbw b Raju 89, R. Inder Singh (run out) 24, K. Goel b Aiyappa 71, U. Kaul c Gautam b Aiyappa 19, M. Sidhana (batting) 61, Harmeet Singh (batting) 0; Extras (b-4, lb-6, nb-4): 14; Total (for four wkts., in 91 overs): 278.

Fall of wickets: 1-101, 2-136, 3-170, 4-277.

Karnataka bowling: Arvind 13-2-40-0, Aiyappa 14-5-30-2, Binny 7-1-28-0, Appanna 29.3-5-84-0, Raju 22.3-5-57-1, Verma 4-1-19-0, Satish 1-0-10-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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