Karnataka gain upper hand

Gautam's hundred and Mithun's four-wicket haul peg back Uttar Pradesh

Karnataka gain upper hand

Parvinder Singh’s determination and the absence of HS Sharath, who hurt his shoulder while fielding on the line, for almost the entire final session combined to minimise Karnataka’s massive advantage.

 With the home pace bowlers striking in tandem, Uttar Pradesh were reeling at a precarious 65 for six when the veteran batsman hauled the team back with two crucial partnerships. At close on the second day of the five-day Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match, the visitors were 221 for nine in pursuit of Karnataka’s first innings total of 349 all out. 

Parvinder first added 110 runs (139m, 190b) with Piyush Chawla and then combined with number 10, Ankit Rajpoot, to frustrate Karnataka for 67 minutes during which he scored 39 in a 40-run alliance. Four missed chances, three catches and a stumping, didn’t help the hosts’ cause either. It required the golden arm of Robin Uthappa, who induced a nick off Parvinder behind the wicket with his third delivery, to end Karnataka’s misery.  

Overnight 297 for five, the hosts’ innings lasted 55 minutes as Amit Mishra (6/106) ran through the order in a fine spell of seam bowling here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday. CM Gautam (100, 177m, 118b, 16x4) duly completed his first hundred of the season to become the third centurion of the innings but like Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair on Wednesday’s opening day, the right-hander didn’t progress beyond the even 100. Barring the three centurions, there was nothing much to shout home about Karnataka’s batting which had five ducks.

With only an injured RP Singh to bat, the hosts can hope for a healthy lead but with Abhimanyu Mithun (4/70) showing signs of cramps and HS Sharath a bit iffy with his bowling shoulder having taken a tumble, Karnataka batsmen will have to bat UP out of the match.

 Before Parvinder (92, 239m, 181b, 13x4) stone-walled a high-flying Karnataka attack with a mature innings, Karnataka pacemen were all over the UP batsmen like a bad rash. Skipper Vinay Kumar (3/49) rung in the procession with a ‘fortuitous’ dismissal of opener Mukul Dagar whose edge Manish Pandey held on to after it ricocheted off a fumbling Nair in the slips.

 Sharath felled a promoted Ali Murtuza while Mithun too got into the act sending Prashant Gupta’s off-stump cart-wheeling with a beautiful off-cutter. Veteran Mohammad Kaif shouldered arms only to see Mithun’s ball peg his stumps as UP left for lunch at 57/4.

Tanmay Srivatsava (32, 91m, 61b, 3x4) and Parvinder put up a brief resistance before Vinay caught the former in front with an incoming delivery while Ekalavya Dwivedi slashed the paceman behind to wicketkeeper Gautam to become his third victim. It was left to the experienced pair of Parvinder and Chawla to steady the ship and the right-left combination didn’t disappoint the visiting camp.

It needed Mithun again to separate the burgeoning partnership. The strapping right-arm quick, who became the joint highest wicket-taker (32) for the State along with Sharath this season, had Chawla caught-behind and soon broke through the defences of Amit with a full ball to put Karnataka back on top in an incisive fourth spell of 4-1-16-2. Even without Sharath, Karnataka looked good to wrap up the innings early but Parvinder, who had slammed an unbeaten 143 in the previous match between the two sides in Meerut, farmed strike with a willing Rajpoot. The duo made most of Sharath and Mithun’s non-availability (Mitun walked away after bowling five balls in the 64th over) and spinners’ ineffectiveness to prolong Karnataka’s ordeal.

While Karnataka still are on top of the game, their batsmen will have to see off the morning session on the third day without much damage as the opening sessions on first two days have decisively favoured the bowlers.

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