Karnataka hit Mumbai hard

Vinay, Binny help visitors reduce hosts to 354/8 on day three

But Karnataka managed to reap great amount of success on the third day of their Elite Group ‘A’ match at the Brabourne stadium on Saturday. It was the result of their willingness to play the waiting game, clever field placing and the lion-heartedness of the bowlers.

It was quite natural to expect Mumbai batsmen to make merry on a pitch on which Karnataka piled up 635/9 declared, but the daunting nature of the task didn’t frighten the visitors, who managed to restrict Mumbai to 354 for eight, a score made possible by the perseverance of centurion Abhishek Nayar, at close to give themselves a good chance to garner at least three points from this game. Mumbai still need a further 282 runs to overhaul Karnataka’s total, and 133 more to avoid follow-on.

Karnataka started the day on the best possible note, dismissing Ajinkya Rahane a few minutes into the first session. The Mumbai lad has an awesome reputation in the domestic circuit for amassing big scores consistently. But there was no addition to the fable as KB Pawan snaffled Rahane’s loose drive off R Vinay Kumar at gully.

Once they dismissed Rahane, Karnataka bowlers plugged away manfully against the Nayar-Rohit Sharma combine that milked 126 runs for the third wicket. As one would expect, Rohit was the leading character in that partnership, playing some audacious shots. At the other end, Nayar was a solid presence.

The left-hander has one of the most bizarre stances, crouching almost almost to the turf, and using his wrists at the last moment to work the ball into the gaps. It certainly doesn’t provide a pretty picture, but his methods were good enough to help him make a second consecutive hundred. Nayar had scored an unbeaten double hundred against Rajasthan here in the previous game.

Just when the alliance was assuming bigger proportions, Rohit fell to Mithun at the stroke of lunch. The right-arm pacer surprised Rohit with a bouncer, and all the Mumbaikar, while attempting a pull, managed was an edge that rattled the timber.

The dismissal changed the complexion of the game. Till then patiently waiting for a window of opportunity, Karnataka suddenly became more pro-active. The post-lunch and the post-tea sessions saw Karnataka planning more conscientiously for wickets. Surya Kumar Yadav can hurt the opposition with a quick knock as he had showed with a whirlwind fifty against Rajasthan. But Vinay didn’t allow any free space for him, keeping the field up and the bowlers too responded to the set field pitching the ball up, forcing Yadav to go over the circle for runs.

An aggressive batsman by nature, Yadav resisted the temptation against Vinay, Mithun, S Arvind and even against left-arm spinner KP Appanna. Vinay soon introduced Stuart Binny, and Yadav viewed it as a chance to shed his sedate ways, and his first attempt to go over the field resulted in a simple catch to Amit Verma at covers.

Vinay added second and third slip to an already busy infield to form a fort around Mumbai batsmen in the post-tea session. Deprived of scoring opportunities on a placid pitch, Mumbai batsmen tried to be inventive, resulting in them losing a few more wickets towards the end of the day. That Nayar had to return to pavilion due to cramps when he was on 137 robbed Mumbai an anchor at a crucial stage.

Nayar will be available to bat on the morrow, but Mumbai has already ceded too much ground.

Score board

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 635/9 declared in 165.2 overs.

MUMBAI (I Innings, O/n: 37/1): Ajinkya Rahane c Pawan b Vinay 24 (63m, 45b, 3x4), Wasim Jaffer lbw Vinay 0 (3m, 1b), Abhishek Nayar (retired hurt) 137 (326m, 216b, 18x4); Rohit Sharma b Mithun 64 (131m, 77b, 9x4, 1x6), Surya Kumar Yadav c Verma b Binny 23 (66m, 37b, 4x4), Ramesh Powar lbw Binny 26 (103m, 66b, 3x4), Iqbal Abdulla b Vinay 22 (64m, 44b, 3x4), Ajit Agarkar b Mithun 13 (44m, 21b, 2x4), Dhawal Kulkarni c Arvind b Binny 17 (50m, 37b, 3x4), Onkar Gurav (batting) 20 (50m, 25b, 4x4). Extras (LB-1, NB-2, W-5) 8. Total (for 8 wkts, 94.3 overs) 354
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Jaffer), 2-50 (Rahane), 3-176 (Rohit), 4-231 (Yadav), 5-301 (Powar), 6-310 (Abdulla), 7-326 (Agarkar), 8-354 (Kulkarni).
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 21-5-79-3, A Mithun 22-3-79-2 (w-1), Appanna 19-3-79-0 (nb-1), S Arvind 17-0-73-0 (w-1, nb-1), Ganesh Satish 1-0-2-0, Amit Verma 4-0-14-0, Stuart Binny 10.3-0-27-3.

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