Classy Pawan takes wind out of Saurashtra

Karnataka post formidable 369/4

Building on the strong base provided by Robin Uthappa on a truncated opening day, Karnataka, overnight 107 for one, frustrated Saurashtra’s designs to amass 369 for four when poor light once again put an early end to the second day’s play of their Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ match at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Wednesday. With 98 overs to be bowled for the day, Saurashtra could squeeze in only 81 overs by stumps.

The home team built their impressive total on the strength of opener KB Pawan’s delightful ton (118, 336m, 222b, 15x4), his second this season after the unbeaten 251 against Rajasthan in Udaipur, and half-centuries by skipper Ganesh Satish (54, 136b, 4x4, 2x6) and the returning Bharath Chipli (66 batting, 124b, 8x4).

Pawan, resuming on 28 and a mere spectator during Uthappa’s blazing stay, batted with great freedom and flair to coast to his sixth career Ranji century to take the sting, if at all, out of the visitors’ attack.

The right-hander began with a couple of neatly executed fours off an inconsistent Jaydev Unadkat and kept the board ticking when  Ganesh almost went into mute mode at the other end. He was particularly pleasing while essaying strokes through the cover region and a pulled four off Sandip Maniar showed the positive frame of mind he was in.

Ganesh, on the other hand, was slow to get off the blocks. The stylish right-hander, just three off 31 balls at one stage, changed gears once spin was introduced in the 40th over. The 22-year-old welcomed left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi with a cover-driven boundary and then stepped out twice in quick succession to deposit the former Royal Challengers Bangalore player over the fence.

Taking a cue from his partner, Pawan too feasted on Doshi’s freebies as Karnataka went into the lunch break at 221 for one. To be fair to Doshi, a familiar name in the English County circuit, he didn’t have much for him in the pitch in terms of turn but the bowler didn’t help his cause either, often bowling the wrong length and line just enough for Ganesh and Pawan to chance their arms and cut him repeatedly to the rope. Though wicketless on the day, Unadkat bowled with more intent and purpose.

As early as in the seventh over of the day, the left-arm paceman managed to get past a flailing Ganesh thrice, all perilously close to the bat, but was unlucky not to get an edge. However, the 21-year-old couldn’t maintain a consistent line for a longer duration to trouble the batting duo, who put on a handsome 154 runs before Pawan offered a simple return catch to Siddarth Trivedi.

Ganesh followed him soon, his flick off a widish delivery on the leg by Trivedi nestling safely in the big gloves of Sagar Jogiyani. Amit Verma, coming on the back of a big century against Mumbai, appeared confident during his brief stay but was trapped in front by Maniar.

Chipli, playing his first Ranji match in three years, proved a worthy replacement for Manish Pandey carving an attractive, unbeaten fifty. The 28-year-old did spend some anxious moments initially but once he opened his account after facing 14 balls, the right-hander was in the zone, executing some crunching drives on the up.

Stuart Binny (29 batting), batting ahead of a struggling CM Gautam, added to Saurashtra’s woes, realising a brisk 51 with Chipli for the unbroken fifth wicket to keep Karnataka firmly in control of things.

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