Gautam slams ton as Karnataka call the shots

Keeper-batsman shares 126-run stand with Patel as visitors end day two on top

CM Gautam’s century put Karnataka in a  position of strength against Uttar Pradesh. File PhotoResuming at the overnight 274 for seven, Karnataka needed to further expand their total to put pressure on Uttar Pradesh. CM Gautam completed his second hundred of the season and shared a 126-run ninth wicket partnership with Udit Patel (72, 109m, 96b, 12x4, 1x6) to lift the visitors to 416.

UP might have been expecting a less intense effort from Karnataka bowlers in the absence of Abhimanyu Mithun, forced to skip this match with a back strain. However, the hosts had to face a sharp new ball spell by R Vinay Kumar and Sreenath Arvind, ending the day on 163 for five, needing another 104 runs to avoid follow-on.

Karnataka gained a position of genuine strength in the morning when Gautam and Udit produced a blistering stand. UP bowlers might have envisaged a much earlier end to Karnataka innings when they priced out overnight batsman Sunil Joshi nearly twenty minutes into the opening session.

But what followed was much beyond UP players’ imagination as Gautam and Udit shattered their spirits with sparkling stroke play.

Gautam (115, 286m, 185b, 12x4) was stuck on his overnight score of 62 for nearly 25 minutes, but a well-executed cover drive off Bhuvneshwar Kumar provided wings to his innings. Thereafter, Gautam was a different batsman, cutting, driving and pulling with elan.

If Gautam had cut back on flair the previous day, the wicketkeeper-batsman gave full vent to his style and aggression on the day after some initial uncertainty. There was the dangerous dual bounce, but Gautam’s excellent ability to gauge the line and length came to the fore on those moments of vagueness.

At the other end, Udit adopted a simple strategy. Playing his second game of the season, Udit realised that the opposition would be targeting him and the off-spinner did not give a chance for them to attack him, playing some audacious shots to upset the bowlers’ rhythm. The powdery surface or unpredictable bounce did not fluster Udit as the Bangalore lad went on to complete his maiden first-class fifty.

Gautam, playing in his 18th first-class match, too reached a highly satisfying landmark when he swept left-arm spinner Pravin Gupta to the fence to complete a well-deserved fifth first-class century. It might have been an immensely rewarding experience as his previous hundred of the season too came under pressure against Orissa three weeks back at Bangalore.

The alliance came to an end when Udit edged Piyush Chawla to Bhuvneshwar at first slip, and the batsman would have been massively disappointed not to have reached his maiden hundred against a bowling side that was looking increasingly bereft of ideas. After their first hour heroics on the opening day, UP bowlers entirely lost their direction and Chawla’s five-wicket effort offered just a token comfort.

Karnataka batsmen’s whole-hearted effort should have worked as a tonic for the hosts, but they could not negotiate the guiles of Vinay and Arvind as three top-order batsmen returned to the hut for a mere 15 runs.

Arvind fetched the first breakthrough when he trapped opener Shivkant Shukla plumb in front and Vinay gave marching orders to Tanmany Srivastava and Ekalavya Dwivedi as UP innings plummeted to a deep abyss.

Sunil Joshi and Udit Patel too joined the act soon as Karnataka snatched the advantage despite a fighting 73-run sixth wicket stand between Piyush Chawla and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Score Board

KARNATAKA (I Innings, O/n: 274/7): KB Pawan b Bhuvneshwar 13 (60m, 47b, 3x4); Robin Uthappa c Amin b Rohit 4 (67m, 45b); Ganesh Satish b Rohit 3 (13m, 9b); Manish Pandey lbw Chawla 36 (126m, 71b, 4x4); Amit Verma c Tanmay b Chawla 54 (144m, 119b, 7x4); Stuart Binny c Kaif b Chawla 13 (35m, 43b, 2x4); CM Gautam c Bhuvneshwar b Gupta 115 (286m, 185b, 12x4); R Vinay Kumar c Gupta b Chawla 51 (97m, 94b, 9x4); Sunil Joshi lbw Bhuvenshwar 26 (62m, 43b, 5x4); Udit Patel c Kaif b Chawla 72 (109m, 96b, 12x4, 1x6); S Arvind (not out) 0 (4m, 1b); Extras (B-6, LB-7, NB-10, W-6) 29; Total (all out, 121 overs) 416

Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Pawan), 2-26 (Uthappa), 3-28 (Ganesh), 4-130 (Pandey), 5-135 (Binny), 6-151 (Verma), 7-242 (Vinay), 8-290 (Joshi), 9-416 (Patel)
Bowling: Shalabh Srivastava 21-4-59-0 (w-5), Bhuvneshwar Kumar 33-10-93-2 (nb-10, w-1), Rohit Chodhuary 14-2-88-2, Piyush Chawla 32-6-95-5, Pravin Gupta 15-4-37-1, Shivkant Shukla 5-1-24-0, Mohammad Kaif 1-0-7-0.

UTTAR PRADESH (I Innings): Shivkant Shukla lbw Arvind 5 (15m, 16b); Tanmay Srivastava lbw Vinay 8 (29m, 10b, 1x4); Ekalavya Dwivedi c Gautam b Vinay 0 (5m, 4b); Mohammad Kaif c Gautam b Joshi 23 (113m,110b, 3x4); Parvinder Singh c Pandey b Patel 22 (47m, 32b, 5x4); Bhuvneshwar Kumar (batting) 51 (143m, 118b, 8x4); Piyush Chawla (batting) 43 (85m, 56b, 7x4, 1x6); Extras (B-4, NB-7) 11; Total (5 wkts, 57 overs) 163.
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Shivkant), 2-14 (Ekalavya), 3-15 (Tanmay), 4-44 (Parvinder), 5-90 (Kaif).

Bowling: Sunil Joshi 12-5-22-1, S Arvind 12-2-32-1, Vinay Kumar 11-4-29-2, Udit Patel 15-2-57-1 (nb-7), Stuart Binny 3-1-7-0, Amit Verma 4-1-12-0.

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