Pawan, Amit rescue Karnataka

Hosts recover to reach 186 for two in reply to Bengals 324 on second day

Karnataka’s K B Pawan (left) and Amit Verma struck unbeaten half-centuries on Wednesday. DH PHOTOS/ PRASHANTH H G

After bowling out Bengal for 324, Karnataka were in a shaky situation at 37 for two when KB Pawan (77 batting, 200b, 6x4) and Amit Verma (84 batting, 162b, 12x4) linked up in the middle. By the time they returned to the pavilion undefeated, the home team was comfortably placed at 186 for two. The 149-run partnership for the unfinished third wicket meant Karnataka are now just 139 runs away from gaining the crucial first innings lead.

Pawan has had a couple of good outings in the first two matches and the right-hander hardly showed any signs of nerves during his close to five-hour vigil at the crease. However, it wasn’t the same for Verma. With Robin Uthappa and Ganesh Satish back in the hut, it wasn’t an ideal situation for the 22-year-old to walk in, himself struggling to string together a decent innings.

His tentativeness was all too obvious and it was hard not to recall his tribulations in the previous match in Delhi where he took 40 balls for his princely five. But once he scored his first boundary — a cover-driven four off Sourasish Lahiri after facing 59 balls — the southpaw shed all his inhibitions, repeatedly cutting the spinners and driving the pacemen square off the wicket to bring up his maiden half-century, which he should be able convert into a century.

His right-handed partner was his usual assured self, doing the bulk of scoring when Verma was trying to get the measure of the pitch and the bowlers. The home boy completed his second fifty of the season in front of a motley crowd as Karnataka shrugged off the early batting setbacks and the fielding lapses in the morning.       

Paceman R Vinay Kumar (3/75) provided Karnataka with an excellent start knocking over overnight batsman Shib Sagar Singh with the second ball of the day. Uthappa took the new ball in the 94th over and Mithun obliged his skipper by removing Sayan Shekhar Mondal, who poked at a rising delivery to offer a simple catch to B Akhil at slips. Mondal, who was grassed by Ganesh off Mithun, might have failed to capitalise on the reprieve, but Wriddhiman Saha and Sourashish Lahiri did well enough to extend visitors’ total.

Lahiri was dropped on 14 by Sunil Joshi at first slip off Vinay and the tail-ender made the hosts pay dearly for it by smashing seven fours to collect 37 runs while adding 43 runs for the eighth wicket with Saha. Ganesh, who had a forgettable day both behind and in front of the wicket, spilled another dolly when Saha, only on 13 then, nicked Arvind (3/63) to slips with the Bengal total reading 292 for seven. The right-hander made good use of the let off stroking his way to 27 before falling to Arvind. Manish Pandey too let Ranadeb Bose’s offer slip through his fingers, but fortunately this one didn’t prove costly as Vinay had the right-hander off the very next ball.    

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