Pawan, Amit, Gautam batter Bengal

Karnataka take reins of their Elite Group B match against Bengal with a strong show

Pawan, Amit, Gautam batter Bengal

CM Gautam is jubilant after scoring a  hundred against Bengal on Thursday. DH photo / Prashanth HGAs many as three batsmen produced centuries on Thursday’s third and penultimate day as Karnataka finished on a commanding 523 for nine, a position from where they can press for their second victory of the season. With a healthy 199-run lead, Karnataka should declare their innings on the final morning to give themselves a realistic chance of forcing a result.   

Overnight batsmen KB Pawan (134, 403m, 289b, 15x4, 1x6) and Amit Verma 157 (398m, 267b, 20x4) began from where they had left on Wednsday to bring up their respective three-figure scores in the morning while CM Gautam, who also doubled up as wicket-keeper from this match, rounded off a highly satisfying day by scripting the second ton of his fledgling career. To rub salt into their injuries, Sunil Joshi (42, 108m, 92b, 3x4, 2x6), R Vinay Kumar and A Mithun used their long handle to good effect as Bengal bowlers leaked runs.

Bengal’s chances of making inroads into Karnataka innings came under overcast conditions in the first session and then when they took the new ball after 11 overs into the third day. But the visiting bowlers failed to shake off the well-set Pawan and Verma. Pawan, who had allowed Verma to overtake him on the second day, started the day cutting and driving Ashok Dinda before depositing off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri (5/157) over long-on fence as runs came in a torrent. The right-hander, overnight 77, soon reached his third ton of his career and second at his home turf Mysore.

For someone who played an innings of great authority after the initial circumspection, Verma’s century came in a rather ironic way -- an overthrown four by a frustrated Dinda helped the 22-year-old go from 99 to 103. The elegant left-hander, however, wasn’t complaining as he celebrated his maiden century jumping and punching the air. The most pleasing part of the youngsters’ alliance was that they didn’t throw their wickets away after reaching personal milestones. They put their heads down and continued in the same vein.

In a desperate bid to make the breakthrough, skipper Manoj Tiwary rotated his bowlers, shifted their ends and brought himself into attack without any reward.

The left-right combination had cut and driven its way to 249 runs when Pawan edged Ranadeb Bose behind to Wriddhiman Saha. Verma, however, completed his 150 before dragging Bose on to his stumps.   After Pawan-Verma show, Gautam and Joshi stroked their way to an entertaining 116-run partnership for the seventh wicket split by tea.

Somewhat sedate towards the end of second session, the veteran brought his big-hitting ability to the fore after the resumption while the youngster stamped his class en route to  his second ton.

After a good outing behind the wicket, the elegant right-hander enjoyed a more impressive stint in front of it. While the 23-year-old did show his ability to play all around the park, his strokes square off the wicket particularly stood out during his unbeaten knock.

Karnataka batsmen made merry on a wicket that has stayed firm so far, but their bowlers will be hoping for it to break on the final day. 

Score Board

BENGAL (I Innings): 324

KARNATAKA (I Innings, O/n: 186/2): KB Pawan c Saha b Bose 134 (403m, 289b, 15x4, 1x6), Robin Uthappa c Saha b Dinda 5 (10m, 6b, 1x4), Ganesh Satish b Bose 18 (72m, 46b, 3x4), Amit Verma b Bose 157 (398m, 267b, 20x4), Manish Pandey c Saha b Lahiri 5 (29m, 20b), B Akhil c Dasgupta b Lahiri 13 (102m, 56b, 1x4), CM Gautam (batting) 108 (195m, 152b, 14x4), Sunil Joshi c Bose b Lahiri 42 (108m, 92b, 3x4, 2x6), Vinay Kumar lbw Lahiri 11 (20m, 16b, 1x6), A Mithun b Lahiri 18 (11m, 17b, 2x4, 1x6) Extras (B-4, LB-4, NB-1, W-3) 12. Total (for 9 wkts, 159 overs) 523.

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Uthappa), 2-37 (Ganesh), 3-286 (Pawan), 4-308 (Pandey), 5-331 (Verma), 6-356 (Akhil), 7-472 (Joshi), 8-499 (Vinay), 9-523 (Mithun).

Bowling: Ranadeb Bose 34-7-97-3 (w-2), Ashok Dinda 32-7-92-1 (w-1), Shib Sagar Singh 27-4-78-0, Sayan Shekhar Mondal 8-0-33-0 (nb-1), Sourasish Lahiri 45-5-157-5, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala 8-0-34-0, Manoj Tiwary 5-0-24-0.

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