Pandey lifts Karnataka

Pandey lifts Karnataka

Mumbai make late inroads as visitors settle for 316/5 on day one

Karnataka’s Manish Pandey struck a sparkling ton before retiring hurt on the opening day of their Ranji Elite Division tie against Mumbai on Thursday. DH File photoKarnataka innings contained a few passages that vindicated his decision, and the visitors appeared on course for a formidable first day total. But all they could manage at stumps was a largely unsatisfactory 316 for five on Thursday.

There was nothing in the surface that Karnataka could offer as an excuse for their slump from 245 for two to 268 for five in nearly seven overs into the last session of the day. If they do so, then a 140-run stand between Manish Pandey (101), who limped out after his hundred due to cramps, and Ganesh Satish (83) will certainly spoil their attempt.

There will not be a more disappointed man in Karnataka dressing room than Pandey, who batted quite beautifully for his eighth first-class ton, and second against Mumbai. A combination of indiscretion and the skills of Mumbai bowlers saw Ganesh, CM Gautam and Stuart Binny taking a walk back to the hut in quick succession, a terrible sequence that has somewhat reduced the effectiveness of Pandey’s effort, at least for now.

Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla was the perpetrator of that collapse, nailing Gautam and Binny in front of the wicket with two arm balls. Karnataka were further pegged back when Ganesh, who till then exhibited wonderful timing and temperament, exited after a poor shot.

That plunge will hurt them more because Karnataka were in a great position to pin Mumbai to the mat on the day. KB Pawan’s early dismissal for nought was the only time Karnataka looked wobbly before that frustrating post-tea session.

Robin Uthappa gave all indications of another three-figure knock while staying 80 minutes at the crease, and it was a breathtaking period. The Kodava lad reeled off boundaries in quick succession, and, in fact, it took nearly eight overs for his partner – Ganesh in this instance – to score runs. Uthappa tore into Ajit Agarkar in style, cashing in on a series of over-pitched deliveries. There were dainty shots down the ‘ V’ and through the cover region as Uthappa sped into his 40s.

But his attempt to turn part-time medium pacer Abhishek Nayar off the hips resulted in a splendid catch down the leg side by stumper Onkar Gurav. But Pandey and Ganesh thwarted Mumbai’s hopes of making further inroads into Karnataka line-up during their entertaining third-wicket alliance. It’s the contrast between the two batsmen that made the partnership a stirring one.

Pandey was in his elements – daring, innovative and pert at times. It’s a lovely sight to watch him bat as conditions – though here it mattered little – and opposition hardly bother him. But Ganesh’s batting is an anti-thesis to whatever Pandey’s style stands for. The Karnataka vice-captain, who was given a reprieve on 15, is a compact and watchful batsman, and on the day a perfect foil for Pandey.

With the duo in full cry, Mumbai bowlers could have done little else apart from waiting for the tide to turn, and it came when Pandey trudged back to the hut due to cramps in his legs. Satish looked set for a hundred but played a totally out of character pull off left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan to give Surya Kumar Yadav a simple catch at deep, and Mumbai rushed through the small creek with glee taking two more wickets.

The perseverance of Amit Verma (44 batting), who was dropped by stumper Gurav off Nayar on 10, and Vinay (21 batting) saved Karnataka from further setback, and the sixth wicket duo will have a big job to do on day two.

Score board

KARNATAKA (I Innings): Robin Uthappa c Gurav b Nayar 49 (80m, 53b, 10x4), KB Pawan c Rohit b Kulkarni 0 (30m, 24b), Ganesh Satish c Yadav b Chavan 83 (261m, 181b, 8x4), Manish Pandey (retired hurt) 101 (131m, 114b, 13x4, 1x6), Amit Verma (batting) 44 (141m, 113b, 4x4), CM Gautam lbw Abdulla 11 (15m, 15b, 1x4), Stuart Binny lbw Abdulla 2 (9m, 11b), R Vinay Kumar (batting) 21 (52m, 30b, 2x4, 1x6). Extras (LB-2, W-2, NB-1) 4. Total (for 5 wkts, 90 overs) 316.
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Pawan), 2-62 (Uthappa), 202 (Pandey retires hurt), 3-245 (Satish), 4-258 (Gautam), 5-268 (Binny).
Bowling: Ajit Agarkar 17-7-45-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 20-3-62-1 (w-1), Iqbal Abdulla 16-3-70-2, Abhishek Nayar 10-1-29-1 (w-1), Ramesh Powar 14-2-52-0 (nb-1), Ankeet Chavan 12-1-50-1, SKYadav 1-0-6-0.