Karnataka strike back
†Mumbai’s stubborn lower-order resistance, an umpiring gaffe at a crucial juncture and the misfortune in the shape of missing their pace spearhead Vinay Kumar through an ankle niggle for major part of the visitors’ innings neutralised Karnataka’s early advantage on Monday.
After posting 251 all out in their first innings, Karnataka had Mumbai in a stranglehold having reduced the defending champions to first 99 for five and then 129 for six before they slackened to let the opponents break out of jail. At close on the second day of their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy match, Mumbai were 217 for seven, just 34 runs behind Karnataka’s first-innings score, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Siddesh Lad (59 batting) and Javed Khan were at the crease with an unbroken partnership for the eighth wicket.†††
Resuming at their overnight score of 228/7, Karnataka’s innings lasted a mere 33 minutes in the morning before they lost their remaining three wickets while adding 23 runs. A Mithun was adjudged lbw by umpire Anil Choudhary off Shardul Thakur when the ball was heading way down the leg while centurion Rahul misjudged a second run to be caught short of his crease. The batsman, who hobbled back, went for a precautionary scan for a suspected groin injury and stayed off the field through the day. Paceman Thakur then accounted for KP Appanna for his fourth wicket to wrap up the innings.†††
Mumbai’s pursuit of hosts’ first innings total began in sedate fashion with openers Kaustubh Pawar and Aditya Tare hardly looking for runs. They were also lucky to survive a testing time that they were put through by the new-ball combination of Vinay and Mithun. While Vinay beat the bat times without number, Mithun troubled both the batsmen by consistently bringing the ball back into them.††
The right-handed duo had laboured to 28 in 15 overs when a change of end did the trick for the home team. H S Sharath, who had bowled two overs without success from the pavilion end, was brought on from the far end (erstwhile BEML End) and the strapping paceman elicited a thick edge off Tare with the fourth ball of his second spell to second slip where Manish Pandey completed a fine catch.
The right-arm quick made further inroads into Mumbai innings with twin strikes in his next over, including that of skipper Wasim Jaffer who was caught plumb in front for a blob. Two balls later he had Pawar caught behind as the visiting side went for lunch on a shaky 39/3. Sharath’s second spell read 4-3-1-3 and those three wickets had come in the space of nine balls.
Upon resumption, Vinay surprisingly replaced Sharath with Mithun and brought himself from the other end. That allowed Mumbai breathing space before Mithun sent Suryakumar Yadav back. Sharath was also unlucky not to win a leg-before decision against Lad. The right-hander was in his 30s and the team’s total 170/7 when he ducked to a perceived bouncer from Sharath but the ball stayed low and struck him on his left shoulder in line with the stumps.
But umpire Chaudhary thought otherwise.††
Vinay bowled just eight overs for the day before he walked out. He didn’t return but debtant Shreyas Gopal somewhat made up for the paceman’s absence with a three-wicket burst.
On a slow-turner, the youngster used his leg-spinners to good effect to prise out three Mumbai batsmen in his 14-over first spell though he came in for some stick towards the end. The right-hander may have come unstuck with the bat, his primary craft, but was impressive with his bowling, dismissing a well-set Hiken Sha (44), D Subramanian and Shardul Thakur.†††††††††††††††††
With Vinay expected to bowl on Tuesday, Karnataka will not want to prolong Mumbai’s innings but the visitors may have already made hosts’ job a difficult one.