Bangalore: Clear blue skies gave way to a pleasantly warm on Wednesday, yet the mood in the Karnataka dressing room for the first half hour in the morning was grey and gloomy.
The sombre atmosphere wasn’t without a reason. With three of their top order back in the hut with barely 15 runs on the board in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal encounter against Uttar Pradesh, they were gasping for breath.
But the young and spirited home team showed enough stomach to fight as two seasoned pros and a youngster stepped up to the challenge and showed why they are touted as one of the title contenders this season.
Riding on a supreme effort from centurions Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair, coupled with the belated but happy return to form of C.M. Gautam (89 batting), Karnataka recovered admirably to take their score to 297 for 5 on the opening day of the five-day knock-out here at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium.
With the dew aiding the bowlers on a green-laced wicket, the UP-ites didn’t come up with an extraordinary show, instead the in-form duo of opener KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and R. Samarth, who all fell for a golden duck, were guilty of having done precious little to keep their wicket under testing morning conditions.
The home-team’s go-to opener Rahul looked completely out of sorts as he stuck around for a while and after facing 24 deliveries went back without scoring, caught by wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi off Ankit Rajpoot. Amit Mishra then rocked the hosts as Samarth and the lethal Pandey fell to successive deliveries as the home camp slumped in silence.
The day was then lit up by the blend of youth and experience. Karun, who scored a century against Delhi in the last match showed refined touch, while Uthappa, returning from an injury lay-off was in sublime form.
Once the duo settled in, they were no rash shots played or risks taken, but a fine display of wrist work and foot work was on display.
Post lunch the visitors’ miseries deepened. First they handed Uthappa a lifeline. At 58, the Kodava was caught by Amit Mishra at backward square leg off a RP Singh bouncer, which was ruled a no-ball.
Ironically, that was also the last ball bowled by RP who walked out, with a hamstring injury in the third over after lunch. RP looks unlikely to take his place on the ground for the rest of the match.
Uthappa, who smashed 19 boundaries, brought up his century off a single but didn’t last long after that. He tried to go for a big one and was stumped by Dwivedi off Ali Murtuza. It also brought a fine 120-run fourth wicket partnership to an end.
Karun who stepped on the pedal in the company of Gautam, ushered in his second century on the trot off 171 balls with 14 hits to the fence and one over it.
Gautam, who has had only two half-centuries to his credit in the season so far, justified the confidence of the team management as he sustained Karnataka’s revival with a 162-run fifth wicket partnership before the 22-year-old Karun was trapped plumb in front of the wicket by Murtuza in the last over of the day.
SCORECARD: Karnataka (Ist innings): Robin Uthappa st. Eklavya Dwivedi b A. Murtuza 100, KL Rahul c Eklavya Dwivedi b A. Rajpoot 0, R. Samarth c & b A. Mishra 0, Manish Pandey c Mohd. Kai b A. Mishra 0, Karun Nair lbw Murtuza 100, CM Gautam (batting) 89. Extras (5lb, 2nb, 1w) 8. Total (for 5 wkts in 89.2 overs) 297. FoW: 1-14, 2-15, 3-15, 4-135, 5-297 Bowling: RP Singh 10.4-5-19-0; Ankit Rajpoot 18-7-39-1; Amit Mishra 23-5-70-2; Ali Murtuza 19.2-3-87-2; Piyush Chawla 15.2-0-62-0; Prashant Gupta 3-0-15-0.
Surya’s belligerent ton puts Mumbai ahead
Surya’s belligerent ton puts Mumbai ahead
DC | Moulin Parikh
MUMBAI: Post his nets session on Tuesday, a day before the Ranji Trophy quarter-final match against Maharashtra at the Wankhede Stadium, Suryakumar Yadav, the flamboyant Mumbai batsman was stopped by a few scribes for an interaction.
The team management had permitted only captain and spinner Iqbal Abdulla, the star of the previous game to speak to the media and Yadav —despite his willingness — had to leave.
On Day One of the knockout match, the right-hand batsman walked in with Mumbai reeling at 101-4 and struck a brilliant century 120 (139b 18x4) to make sure the limelight would largely be on him.
He shared a 183-run stand for fifth wicket with comeback man Vinit Indulkar 82 (164b, 13x4) to help Mumbai to a strong position before the visitors struck back with the new ball towards the end as the home team finished at 306/7.
Maharashtra won the toss and had not hesitation in bowling first on a wicket with ample grass cover on it. The new ball bowlers Samad Fallah (3/71) and Anupam Sanklecha (3/55) got assistance from the track.
Wasim Jaffer (44) played a rash shot and was back in the hut in the first session itself. Mumbai looked to be going down until Yadav rose to the occasion.
The attacking batsman took his time to settle down but started dealing in boundaries soon after. He raised his fifty in only 70 minutes with the help of seven fours and continued to attack in the final session.
SCORECARD: Mumbai (1st innings): W. Jaffer c Bawne b Mundhe 44, K. Pawar c Motwani b Fallah 19, A. Tare c Fallah b Sanklecha 3, V. Indulkar c Motwani b Sanklecha 82, A. Nayar c Jadhav b Fallah 5, S. Yadav c Khurana b Sanklecha 120, I. Abdulla (batting) 9, S.N. Thakur c Khurana b Fallah 4, Z. Khan (batting) 5. Extras (b4, lb6, w2, nb3) 15. Total (for seven wickets in 84 overs) 306.
FoW: 1-35, 2-55, 3-92, 4-101, 5-284, 6-295, 7-300
Bowling: Fallah 23-4-71-3, Sanklecha 18-4-55-3, Mundhe 22-5-70-1, Khadiwale 6-3-23-0, Darekar 12-0-54-0, Khurana 3-0-23-0.