Sedate Karnataka remain on top

Satish, Verma and Binny score half-centuries as hosts stack up 302 for four

crisp!: Karnataka’s Ganesh Satish drives through the covers during his patient knock of 76 against Baroda on the third day of their Ranji Trophy Super League match at the Gangotri Glades in Mysore on Friday. DH PHOTO/ Prashanth HG

The hosts scored 91 runs off 34 overs at 2.6 in the first session while 88 runs were made from 28 overs at 3.1 before tea and 82 from 28 overs at 2.9 in the final session. For many, the unhurried method of Karnataka, the dominant team in the match, might have been confounding, but scratch the top and you will get a clearer image.

Karnataka had reached 302 for four at close on the third day at the Gangotri Glades for an overall lead of 390, and they still can bowl Baroda out for an outright victory on the final day considering their bowlers’ excellent form. But the more satisfying aspect of the day’s play was the time their top-order batsmen spent at the crease.

The recent outings of the top order, except Manish Pandey, have not been up to the mark as they failed to produce consistent performances. It indeed was a worrying factor for the Karnataka management ahead of the knockout stage as lapses can be brutally punished at that phase.

But the bright day offered some consolation for the think-tank as the top-order batsmen showed a willingness to trade flair for a workmanlike approach.

KB Pawan set the trend with a hard-nosed 18 (102m, 77b), before snicking Sankalp Vohra to stumper Pinal Shah, and the subsequent batsmen, Ganesh Satish, Stuart Binny and Amit Verma, followed the trail, grinding the Baroda bowlers to get much-needed time in the middle, and also giving their overworked bowlers much-needed rest.

Satish and Pandey stitched together a 73-run partnership off 132 balls for the third wicket, an alliance that reflected the mindset of the two batsmen. Pandey has made two consecutive hundreds against Orissa and Himachal Pradesh, and only a batsman high on confidence could have played those elegant drives and well-timed pulls.

But at the other end, Satish was full of patience despite a few nervy moments early on in his well-crafted 76 (232m, 151m, 12x4) when he played some loose wafts outside the off-stump.

However, he showed remarkable focus to hang in despite not being in full flow.

His desire to get runs under the belt was quite understandable as so far, he has managed only 139 runs at 19.85 from four matches to be placed 12th in the Karnataka batting chart. Hardly ideal for a frontline batsman!

That an in-form Pandey was at the other end too helped as Satish managed to bat without having to think about run-scoring.

As the day wore on, he looked more settled and assured while playing his strokes, evidenced by a crunchy straight drive off left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhat that sped to the ropes and exquisite wristy taps to the mid-wicket area that fetched him a few boundaries.

Pandey’s innate yearning to impose himself on the bowlers ended the partnership as his attempt to send Bhat out of the ground ended in the hands of Murtuja Vahora.
Satish too departed when he failed to keep a square-cut off Ketan Panchan down, putting Ambati Rayudu in business at point.

However, Verma and Binny, who made unbeaten half-centuries, crafted a century partnership to take the match way beyond the reach of Baroda.
Verma, who so far has scored a hundred and two fifties this season, and Binny, who made a hundred against Himachal, too used the chance to fine-tune some areas before the big clashes ahead.

Scoreboard

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 257 all out in 88.1 overs

BARODA (I Innings): 169 all out in 69.4 overs

KARNATAKA (II Innings, O/n: 41/1): KB Pawan c Shah b Vohra 18 (102m, 77b, 2x4), Robin Uthappa c Shah b Vahora 7 (33m, 16b), Ganesh Satish c Rayudu b Panchal 76 (232m, 151b, 12x4), Manish Pandey c Vahora b Bhat 42 (99m, 67b, 7x4), Amit Verma (batting) 77 (253m, 204b, 10x4), Stuart Binny (batting) 60 (191m, 131b, 4x4). Extras (B-4, LB-3, W-11, NB-4) 22. Total (for 4 wkts, 107 overs) 302.

Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Uthappa), 2-48 (Pawan), 3-121 (Pandey), 4-167 (Ganesh).

Bowling: Murtuja Vahora 21-6-58-1 (w-1), Sankalp Vohra 21-5-58-1 (w-1, nb-1), Bhargav Bhat 28-3-98-1 (w-5, nb-2), Gagandeep Singh 25-6-59-0 (w-4), Ketan Panchal 11-4-18-1 (nb-1), Ambati Rayudu 1-0-4-0.

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