Dravid shines in Karnataka's troubled reply

Cricket: Ranji Trophy: Delhi bounce back on day two despite right-handers measured 78

Resuming at their bedtime score of 91 for two in their Ranji Trophy Super League tie on Wednesday, Karnataka’s batsmen, barring the regal Dravid (78, 154m, 122b, 11x4), struggled to find answers to the numerous questions the disciplined Delhi bowlers posed, eventually crashing to 260 all out in 80.2 overs.

Given the nature of the surface, a lead of 106 appeared handy but by stumps on a truncated second day, Delhi had wiped off 93 of them losing skipper Aakash Chopra and one-drop Gaurav Chabra.

The dismissals of Chopra and Chabra in quick succession promised another Delhi collapse, but Shikhar Dhawan (43) and Rajat Bhatia (28) stood firm to see the home team without any further damage.

At one stage, gaining even the 100-plus cushion appeared difficult as Karnataka’s middle-order made a beeline to the pavilion, failing to come to terms with the moving ball.

The visiting batsmen particularly found it hard to handle right-arm paceman Sumeet Narwal (4/71), who dealt three quick blows bowling with more than a light breeze behind him. Pawan (46) and Thilak Naidu nicked him to wicket-keeper Puneet Bisht while Manish Pandey received a harsh decision when umpire Vilas Karhadkar adjudged him leg before even though the ball had rapped him well above his front knee.

Debutant left-arm seamer Puneet Suyal too proved equally impressive, bagging a four-wicket haul (4/67) while cleaning up the tail. At 135 for five, Karnataka hardly looked safe, but the assured presence of Dravid in the middle kept them slightly ahead of their rivals.

Even as wickets kept tumbling, the elegant right-hander held sway, pulling and driving the bowlers and single-handedly holding the innings from falling apart completely.

Warming up with a pulled four off Narwal, Dravid brought up his third half-century in as many innings before a rare loose shot saw him edge the hard-working Parvinder Awana behind.

When Dravid was done with his stint, which stood out for its delightful drives down the wicket, it was not even a job half-done.

Sunil Joshi and Vinay departed quickly before Akhil (37) joined hands with Mithun (39 n.o.) to stretch the lead.

That Akhil can be more than handy with the bat lower down the order is well known, but Mithun showed he is no mug either with a determined performance.

The right-hander played mainly with a straight bat while adding 21 for the ninth wicket with Akhil. Mithun then found an equally able ally in Aravind and the duo raised a valuable 47 for the last wicket to frustrate Delhi’s designs.

Their technical frailties were evident while handling the short-pitched stuff, but the left-right combination made up for it with great tenacity.

Like on the evening of the opening day, batting on this strip looked relatively easier and Karnataka bowlers will be hoping the early morning conditions will help them run through the Delhi innings.

SCORE BOARD
DELHI (I Innings): 154 all out in 54.4 overs
KARNATAKA (I Innings, O/n: 91/2): KB Pawan c Bisht b Narwal 47 (146m, 97b, 8x4), CM Gautam lbw Narwal 2 (10m, 5b), Amit Verma c Dhawan b Suyal 12 (28m, 26b, 2x4), Rahul Dravid c Bisht b Awana 78 (184m, 122b, 11x4), Manish Pandey lbw Narwal 4 (11m, 10b, 1x4), Thilak Naidu c Bisht b Narwal 6 (23m, 14b, 1x4), B Akhil lbw Sharma 37 (140m, 88b, 5x4), Sunil Joshi lbw Suyal 1 (32m, 21b), R Vinay Kumar c Julka b Suyal 6 (26m, 13b, 1x4), A Mithun (not out) 39 (88m, 57b, 5x4), S Aravind c Chopra b Suyal 15 (51m, 29b, 2x4). Extras (B-8, LB-5) 13. Total (all out, 80.2 overs) 260.

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Gautam), 2-20 (Verma), 3-107 (Pawan), 4-113 (Pandey), 5-135 (Naidu), 6-166 (Dravid), 7-171 (Joshi), 8-192 (Vinay), 9-213 (Akhil).
Bowling: Sumeet Narwal 21-1-71-4, Parvinder Awana 18-2-58-1, Pawan Suyal 26.2-7-67-4, Rajat Bhatia 10-3-29-0, Abhishek Sharma 5-0-22-1.

DELHI (II Innings): Aakash Chopra lbw Vinay 6 (18m, 16b, 1x4) , Shikhar Dhawan (batting) 43 (139m, 80b, 7x4), Gaurav Chabra c Dravid b Aravind 12 (33m, 26b, 2x4), Rajat Bhatia (batting) 28 (86m, 64b, 4x4). Extras (LB-2, W-1, NB-1) 4. Total (for 2 wkts, 31 overs) 93.

Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Chopra), 2-41 (Chabra).
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 7-2-22-1, A Mithun 10-2-39-0 (nb-1), S Aravind 6-1-12-1 (w-1), B Akhil 3-1-8-0, Sunil Joshi 4-1-10-0, Amit Verma 1-1-0-0.

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