Vinay scalps six as Rest of India fail to prosper

Karnataka wrest control on day one

Vinay scalps six as Rest of India fail to prosper

Is there a craftier bowler in domestic circuit than R Vinay Kumar? The right-arm paceman doesn’t possess the pace to rattle the batsmen nor does he get the ball to move prodigiously off the wicket or in the air, but yet, year after year, he takes wickets by the bagful.

In what should rank as one of his finest bowling shows, the paceman ripped through the Rest of India batting order with a six-wicket haul (6/47) as Ranji Trophy Champions Karnataka dominated the opening day’s proceedings of the Irani Cup here at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. When stumps were drawn after an extended day, the hosts, after dismissing RoI for a piddly 201, were 35 for the loss of Robin Uthappa. KL Rahul (28) and Ganesh Satish (7) were at the crease as Karnataka trailed by 166 runs.

Vinay knows the Chinnaswamy turf like the back of his palm and he had little hesitation in opting to bowl first on a surface that sported more grass than it normally does. Having bolstered the pace unit by including a fit-again HS Sharath (in place of S Arvind) and all-rounder Stuart Binny (in place of Amit Verma), it was a good toss to win for Karnataka who exhibited the same enthusiasm and exuberance on the field that has seen them lift their seventh Ranji Trophy.

Barring Dinesh Karthik’s fighting 91 (289m, 184b, 14x4) there was little significant in RoI innings that barely recovered from the early blows that Vinay delivered in his opening spell of 8-3-18-3. The hosts were off to a rollicking start when Vinay trapped Jiwanjot Singh off the very first ball of the match, the ball shaping in ever so slightly even as the right-hander tried to defend it on the front. He appeared to have jammed the ball between bat and pad but umpire Rajesh Deshpande obliged Vinay.

In his second over, Vinay accounted for Baba Aparajith in similar fashion while in the third over, season’s top run-getter Kedar Jadhav could do little against a ball that angled into the batsman. Having been reduced to 12 for three, RoI didn’t know what had hit them and had Deshpande detected an edge off Vinay, Karthik would have been back in the hut on just one, pushing Harbhajan Singh’s side in deeper turmoil. But that’s the name of the game -- you get some and miss some.

On the day, though, Karnataka wouldn’t miss many. Gautam Gambhir (22 off 66) and Karthik tried to revive the innings but Binny (3/35) put an end to a laboured resistance catching the experienced left-hander in front with a ball that jagged back. The medium pacer, moving the ball either way, continued to trouble the batsmen and it wasn’t long before Mandeep Singh nicked one to Rahul at third slip, leaving the Rest reeling at 62 for five.

Rest needed a substantial stand and Amit Mishra (47) joined forces with Karthik to provide one. Mishra, who has a Ranji double hundred against Karnataka, played with the freedom that belied the situation his team was in. Striking the ball clean and clear, he hauled the team back by adding 67 runs for the seventh wicket before Sharath put an end to his adventure by enticing him to chase a widish delivery that resulted in a simple catch in the slips.

Karthik received good support from Harbhajan next as the pitch began to ease under the sharp sunlight and the Mumbai Indians’ team-mates raised 70 runs in a matter of 92 balls. These pockets of resistance, however, weren’t enough to worry the home attack. Returning for his fourth spell (4.4-1-21-3) of the day, that turned out to be his final as well, Vinay scalped Harbhajan, Anureet Singh and Pankaj Singh (the last two coming off successive deliveries) to fold up RoI innings in a hurry.

In between Uthappa had brought up an excellent two-handed diving catch at mid-on to see the back of Karthik off Binny. Karnataka may not have missed Binny’s presence much while he was away in New Zealand but the value and balance he provides to this side wasn’t lost on anyone.

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