Karnataka remain in control

Mithuns half-century pushes lead above 300; Orissa launch strong fightback

Karnataka remain in control

Stunning blow: Orissa’s Shib Sundar Das is bowled round his legs by Karnataka’s Aditya B Sagar on the third day of their Ranji Trophy Super League Group B match at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday. DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

The home side extended their lead to a commanding 312 while notching up a first-innings score of 503 and then plucked one Orissa wicket to end the day with a genuine chance of forcing a favourable result on the fourth and final day. The visitors, though, made a good recovery to be placed at 92 for one at close, but they still need a further 220 runs to avoid an innings defeat, a massive task indeed.

Orissa’s effort to eat into Karnataka’s formidable lead began on a disastrous note when they lost opener and skipper Shib Sundar Das in the first over itself. Mysore pacer Aditya B Sagar, hugely impressive on his debut, castled the former Indian opener, raising visions of another Orissa collapse.

Hardly the beginning Orissa wanted while chasing an imposing total, but Natraj Behera and Niranjan Behera showed commendable pluck to deny Karnataka further success on a cloudy evening. The overcast conditions immensely helped the host seamers and veteran left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi also tied the batsmen down with a tight line. But the Orissa players were equal to the challenge, defying pace and spin with equal dexterity.

Though Sagar fetched the breakthrough, it was pacers Abhimanyu Mithun  and Sreenath Arvind who posed larger threat. Mithun and Arvind moved the ball both ways and generated disconcerting bounce, catching Niranjan, who made a gritty unbeaten fifty in the first innings, and Natraj napping more than once. Both bowlers were unlucky that the ball narrowly missed the edge on numerous occasions and when they managed to elicit an edge, it fell short of fielders.

Karnataka skipper Ganesh Satish, who showed an innovative and aggressive trait while placing fielders in the first innings, continued in a similar vein in the second essay. For the pacemen, Ganesh employed five fielders around the slip cordon and he filled the close-in positions, forward short leg, silly point and slip, once the spinners came into attack.

But a combination of hard luck and Orissa batsmen’s pluck prevented Ganesh’s schemes from bearing fruit. That Robin Uthappa, who donned the wicket-keeping gloves in place of injured CM Gautam, spilled a tough chance offered by Natraj off Mithun made matters worse. Natraj carried on to complete a patient unbeaten fifty as Orissa lived to fight another day.

The morning session witnessed Karnataka consolidating their good work of the last two days. First, Manish Pandey and Gautam, the two overnight batsmen, completed a 300-run stand for the sixth wicket (328, 460 balls) before the former departed, edging medium-pacer Alok Sahoo to stumper Subharajit Sahoo.

The dismissal of Pandey sparked a flurry of wickets as Joshi, Sagar and Gautam returned to the hut in quick succession.

At 419 for nine, an overall lead of 228, Karnataka required some more runs to take the match further away from Orissa. The last-wicket pair Mithun and Arvind did just that, extending the lead past the 300-run mark with an entertaining 84-run association.
Mithun has shown in the past that he is no rabbit with the bat and he completed a quick unbeaten fifty (63 n.o., 107m, 89b, 7x4, 1x6) to heap more misery on Orissa from which a recovery looks only remotely possible. It was also Mithun’s highest first-class score, surpassing the 46 he made against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval earlier this year.

SCORE BOARD

ORISSA (I Innings): 191 all out in 79.5 overs
KARNATAKA (I Innings O/n: 348/5): KB Pawan lbw D Mohanty 0 (1m, 2b); KL Rahul b Alok Sahoo 11 (34m, 22b, 2x4); Ganesh Satish c Poddar b Sahoo 25 (93m, 63b, 5x4); Robin Uthappa c Poddar b B Mohanty 9 (43m, 25b, 1x4); Manish Pandey c S Sahoo b B Mohanty 171 (373m, 267b, 16x4, 6x6); Amit Verma b Sahoo 5 (22m, 12b); CM Gautam c Sahoo b A Sahoo 158 (360m, 234b, 23x4, 1x6); Sunil Joshi c S Sahoo b B Mohanty 0 (12m, 11b);  Aditya Sagar c Dhiraj b D Mohanty 12 (50m, 32b, 1x4); A Mithun (not out) 63 (107m, 89b, 7x4, 1x6); S Arvind b Samantray 33 (50m, 53b, 2x4, 1x6); Extras (B-9, LB-5, NB-2) 16; Total (all out; 134.4 overs) 503.

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Pawan), 2-18 (Rahul), 3-46 (Uthappa), 4-48 (Ganesh), 5-54 (Amit), 6-382 (Pandey), 7-386 (Joshi), 8-390 (Sagar), 9-419 (Gautam).
Bowling: Debashish Mohanty 31-5-78-2; Basant Mohanty 31-8-84-3 (NB-2); Alok Sahoo 29-4-110-4; Biplab Samantray 7.4-1-27-1; Dhiraj Kumar 24-0-123-0; Rakesh Mohanty 9-0-47-0; Niranjan Behera 3-0-20-0.
ORISSA (I Innings): Natraj Behera (batting) 50 (167m, 149b, 9x4); Shib Sundar Das b Sagar 0 (5m, 2b); Niranjan Behra (batting) 37 (161m, 125b, 6x4); Extras (B-5) 5; Total (for one wicket, 46 overs) 92
Fall of wicket: 1-1 (Das).
Bowling: Aditya Sagar 5-0-14-1, Abhimanyu Mithun 9-3-19-0, Amit Verma 9-2-23-0, Sunil Joshi 12-4-19-0, S Arvind 9-4-8-0, Ganesh Satish 2-1-4-0.

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