Akshay grabs four wickets as hosts wrest control on opening day
Karnataka took control of their Group ‘B’ Ranji trophy tie against Odisha but they would be going into the dressing room, feeling like they could have done a little more under the circumstances.
The hosts, who lie seventh on the table with five points from three matches, restricted Odisha to 202 all out on a pitch which had a lot to offer for the pacemen. However, they failed to apply pressure on the visitors, who were tottering at 87 for four in the 34th over, when they could’ve bowled them out early and hoped to scurry towards an outright win and even a bonus point, which they are in dire need of.
Karnataka were on 16 for no loss at stumps with KB Pawan (9) and Robin Uthappa (4) unconquered at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday, trailing by 186 runs.
The situation is still in Karnataka’s favour, but given their inconsistent batting displays, R Vinay Kumar and Co would’ve liked to concede less runs. That being said, almost every Karnataka bowler used on the day was in his elements, while it was CM Gautam who walked away with the biggest smile after his record-equalling show behind the stumps by a State ’keeper.
The Karnataka fielders have often come under the scanner for their below-par showing but on the day, the wicketkeeper snapped six catches, out of which three were impressive – all of them diving to his right.
Choosing to bowl on a greenish surface with grey clouds hovering overhead, Karnataka’s pacers took charge with SL Akshay, who replaced Ronit More on account of experience, leading the way.
The stout right-arm pacer was all over the place at the beginning of his 14.3-over effort but he used his speed in the air and off the pitch towards the fag end of the day to polish off Odisha’s lower-middle order and the tail-end batsmen. Akshay finished with figures of four wickets for 40 runs. Even though Akshay looked the best in the wickets’ column, it was HS Sharath and Vinay who set things up for him.
Vinay, who rotated his bowlers around intelligently – barring his decision to bring Binny into the attack late, was the stand-out performer as he toyed with Odisha’s line-up with his clinical line and length and bagged three wickets for 31 runs in 18 overs. The India pacemanwas particularly impressive in his six-over spell, spread over between post-lunch and final session when he returned figures of 6-3-7-2.
Sharath complemented his skipper, scalping the wicket of Natraj Behera with his first legal delivery of the match and finishing the day with figures of two for 47 from 15 overs.
Niranjan, who is one of the three Behera’s in the playing eleven along with skipper Natraj and Deepak, was the pick of the batsmen for Odisha with his occasionally composed but scratchy knock of 61 (275 minutes, 177 balls, 11x4).Niranjan and Subrajit Sahu (45 runs, 165m, 128b, 6x4, 1x6) stitched together 69 runs for the fifth-wicket that helped Odisha reach a respectable total.
It was, however, Karnataka’s day and by the looks of it, Odisha could well be staring at three long days to come.
ODISHA (I Innings): Sandip Mulia c Gautam b Vinay 14 (33m, 20b, 2x4), Natraj Behera b Sharath 0 (6m, 2b), Niranjan Behera b Vinay 61 (275m, 177b, 11x4), Gobinda Poddar c Gautam b Akshay 4 (27m, 11b, 1x4), Biplab Samantray c Gautam b Sharath 28 (92m, 78b, 5x4), Subhrajit Sahu c Gautam b Binny 45 (165m, 128b, 6x4, 1x6), Deepak Behera 0 (2b, 4m), Lagnajit Samal c Gautam b Akshay 13 (38m, 33b, 2x4), Alok Sahoo c Pawan b Akshay 9 (35m, 25b, 2x4), Basanta Mohanty (not out) 10 (29m, 16b, 1x4), Alok Mangaraj b Akshay 0 (1m, 1b). Extras (LB-4, W-3, NB-11) 18. Total (all out, 79.3, 356 minutes) 202.
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Natraj), 2-20 (Mulia), 3-36 (Poddar), 4-87 (Samantray), 5-156 (Niranjan), 6-160 (Deepak), 7-182 (Sahu), 8-183 (Samal), 9-202 (Sahoo).
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 18-8-31-3 (w-1), HS Sharath 15-3-47-2 (w-2, nb-4), SL Akshay 14.3-3-40-4 (nb-4), Stuart Binny 15-4-44-1 (nb-3), KP Appanna 12-4-29-0, Amit Verma 5-2-7-0.
KARNATAKA: KB Pawan 9 (batting) (26m, 18b, 2x4), Robin Uthappa 4 (batting) (26m, 19b, 1x4). Extras (B-1, LB-1, NB-1) 3. Total (no loss, 6 overs, 26 minutes) 16.
Bowling: Basant Mohanty 3-1-5-0, Alok Mangaraj 2-0-5-0 (nb-1), Deepak Behera 1-0-4-0.