Mishra, Yadav defy Karnataka
Duo negates hosts’ early onslaught with fighting fifties as Haryana reach 293/7
Karnataka bowlers put on an amazing show to get through most of Haryana’s batting line-up but they could do little to deny a purposeful Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav their share of spotlight at the KSCA ground here in Rajnagar on Saturday.
Despite having to bend their backs extensively on a wicket which offered little or no assistance to bowlers, Karnataka pacemen troubled Haryana with their line and length to have them reeling at five for 112.
However, just when the hosts thought they had Haryana on the mat, skipper Mishra (86, 206m, 137b, 10x4) and Yadav (64, 113m, 110b, 10x4) oozed confidence and were unconquered in their effort to carry their team to a healthy 293 for seven in 90 overs on the opening day of their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy encounter here.
Cheered by an unbiased crowd of over two thousand, Mishra, who came in at seven, barely looked troubled by the situation his team was in following the loss of Sunny Singh (56, 213m, 132b, 6x4).
At 153 for six, Karnataka sensed that they could have their way and stand-in skipper Stuart Binny, realising the potential to go in for the kill, removed himself and KP Appanna from the attack and brought on his seamers in an attempt to end any further resistance.
Much to his dismay, Mishra was a picture of ease and it also seemed like the leg-spinner knew something that the Karnataka camp didn’t.
After Joginder Sharma edged a ball from SL Akshay to wicketkeeper CM Gautam (7/168), there was a surprise in store for Karnataka in the form of Yadav. The lanky 22-year-old walked in at number nine and was off the mark with a couple of top notch cover drives off Akshay.
Karnataka knew that they were up against more than what they had anticipated and tried to get rid of Yadav by peppering him with short deliveries. Yadav handled everything Karnataka had to throw at him with comfort and even ended up dominating the bowlers in phases.
Yadav was particularly effective against the pacers as he enjoyed using their pace to run the ball down to third man or fine leg while still in complete control of shots in front of the wicket.
Backed by an able accomplice in Yadav, Mishra played perfect foil to Karnataka’s hopes. He was brutal when the ball was there to be hit – epitomised by a cracking pull off Sharath one ball before tea – but credited the bowlers when they were put it in the right areas.
Mishra and Yadav were let off the hook on a couple of occasions each, but barring when Robin Uthappa dropped a sitter at gully with Mishra on 81, the other chances required an extraordinary effort from the fielders, and they clearly lacked that on the day.
The duo remained at the crease for over two hours and strung together a 135-run partnership for the eighth wicket and gave Haryana a new lease of life, while sucking one out of Karnataka.
Earlier, Akshay (3/59) and Sharath (2/49) turned out to be Haryana’s worst nightmare. In the absence of R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun, it seemed like Karnataka bowlers lacked the teeth to cut through.
However, the two pacers – backed by a resilient Ronit More – were anything but easy to play. Varying between good and short lengths, Akshay, more so in the second spell (5-1-152), and Sharath were persistent and constantly caught Haryana’s batsmen off-guard until they ran into Mishra and Yadav.
Perhaps an experienced Vinay and Mithun would have fared better when facing a stiff tail.