Heavy rain cut short what was turning out to be an enthralling day's play in the C.K. Nayudu Trophy (under-22) Plate match between Kerala and Hyderabad at the Perinthalamanna Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Just 44.4 overs were possible on the third day, at the end of which, the visiting side was 141 for five in its second innings, a lead of 203.

The players left the ground an hour and twenty minutes after lunch when the heavens opened up, accompanied by deafening thunder and lighting. Three players actually fell to the ground because of shock, but luckily, they are all alright and only one of them required any kind of medical attention.

A draw now looks the likeliest result; only a spectacular batting collapse from Hyderabad early on the final day could create any chances for any other outcome.

Hyderabad, which resumed at one for one, was reduced to 62 for four, as Kerala's medium-pace trio of Sandeep Warrier, Niyas Nizar and Abhishek Mohan picked up a wicket each. It was Praneeth Kumar who held the innings together to ensure that the visiting side didn't concede the initiative.

Praneeth (54 batting) added 39 for the fifth wicket with A. Akash to steady the rocking ship. His sixth-wicket stand with Minash Gabriel (22 batting) is so far worth 40; the host, having conceded the first innings lead, needs to break the partnership early on Sunday morning if wants to gain anything more than one point from this game.

The scores: Hyderabad 290 & 141 for five in 46.4 overs (Praneeth Kumar 54 batting) v Kerala 228 . — Principal Correspondent

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