Aditya, Irfan rescue Baroda on day one

Cricket Ranji Trophy: Karnataka let down by poor catching

Aditya, Irfan rescue Baroda on day one

Karnataka fielders’ catching ability, or rather the lack of it, once again returned to haunt them as the visitors let go their advantageous position against Baroda on the opening day of a Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match here at the Moti Bagh ground on Friday.

Having reduced the hosts to 88 for four after opting to bowl first on a surface that had good bounce and carry, Karnataka allowed Baroda to not only salvage the situation but also assume control over the proceedings by close of play.

Opener Aditya Waghmode (121 batting, 390m, 262b, 16x4, 2x6) and Irfan Pathan (105 batting, 223m, 155b, 12x4, 3x6), both reprieved early in their innings, made Karnataka pay heavily for their lapses in the field, raising 220 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket alliance and muscling the home team to 308 for four on an extended day.

It was a sort of déjà vu for Karnataka who often suffered for dropping catches the previous season. Left-arm spinner KP Appanna was the first culprit, grassing a return offer from Waghmode when the batsman was on 12, while Manish Pandey failed to grab a thick edge from Irfan at first slip off an impressive Stuart Binny (2/30) when the India all-rounder was on two.

Not the one to look a gift horse in the mouth, the southpaw punished the visiting attack with a calculated assault. In the process, he also instilled the much-needed confidence in Waghmode who till then appeared unconvincing; edging, missing and surviving numerous leg-before shouts.

Waghmode, who incidentally made his debut against Karnataka in January last, could have missed out on his maiden century had off-spinner Sunil Raju not overstepped the line that was confirmed after the referral.

Binny had completed a fine catch running backwards to temporarily snap Waghmode’s innings on 98 but Karnataka’s joy was short-lived. Given a second life, the Vadodara lad cut Amit Verma to the fence in the next over to bring up his hundred.

Those two blips during his 390-minute stay in the middle, shouldn’t take anything away from his knock. Beaten times without number and troubled endlessly by the pace trio of Vinay Kumar, A Mithun and Binny, the 22-year-old showed great mental resolve to hang on. Once the pitch eased out and the bowlers appeared tired, he blossomed in Irfan’s company.

Waghmode had been dismissed on 99 the last season against Madhya Pradesh but he wasn’t to be denied his moment under the sun this time. There was, however, no such relief for Raju who had dismissed Saurashtra’s Nayan Doshi off a no-ball in Bangalore last year.

With two left-handers at the crease, much was expected from Raju but it wasn’t to be his day. It was first Irfan who singled out the offie for some special treatment, a clue dutifully followed by Waghmode. Coming in at the fall of his older brother and skipper Yusuf Pathan, Irfan was obviously cautious but rarely missed out on scoring opportunities. He was hustled a bit by the pace and the disconcerting bounce generated by Mithun, who unfortunately has nothing to show in the wickets column despite his excellent effort, but the left-hander shed his inhibition once he got his eye in.

Watched by his father, the 28-year-old brought his third first-class ton soon after Waghmode had completed his.
Impressively, the Baroda twosome didn’t try anything extravagant after bringing up their respective hundreds. They slowed down towards the end and saw off the day without any further damage. Karnataka will have to get their act right soon to minimise the harm.

Score board

BARODA: Kedar Devdhar lbw Vinay 2 (36m, 23b), Aditya Waghmode (batting) 121 (390m, 262b, 16x4, 2x6), Abhimanyu Chauhan lbw Binny 6 (24m, 21b, 1x4), Ambati Rayudu c Pandey b Appanna 14 (30m, 24b, 2x4), Yusuf Pathan c Vinay b Binny 24 (73m, 56b, 1x4), Irfan Pathan (batting) 105 (223m, 155b, 12x4, 3x6). Extras (B-17, LB-11, NB-1, W-7) 36. Total (for 4 wkts, 90 overs) 308.

Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Devdhar), 2-21 (Chauhan), 3-40 (Rayudu), 4-88 (Yusuf).
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 19-7-47-1 (w-5), A Mithun 18-3-55-0 (w-2), KP Appanna 19-3-43-1, Stuart Binny 13-5-30-2, Sunil Raju 18-1-91-0 (nb-1), Amit Verma 3-1-14-0.

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