Karnataka miss chance to tighten noose

Satish hammers ton but rest of visitors batsmen fail to score big on day two

Having allowed the hosts to recover from 93 for seven on day one of their Ranji Trophy Super League Group B tie to post 216, Karnataka’s in-form batsmen threatened to bury Saurashtra under a mountain of runs on Wednesday’s second day.
The base laid by Ganesh Satish’s second Ranji hundred,  Karnataka looked on course for a mammoth total when Manish Pandey and skipper Robin Uthappa lay into the bowling in the post lunch session.

 Both batsmen, however, fell within ten minutes of each other just before tea, triggering a slide that saw Karnataka lose their last five wickets for just 31 runs, and finish at 384 when many more were there for the taking.
 Even so, they opened up a handy lead of 168, into which Saurashtra made handsome inroads by stumps. With a brave Chirag Pathak in the forefront, the hosts had reached 57 without loss, 111 short of making Karnataka bat again.  Wednesday wasn’t so much about the Saurashtra bowlers applying sustained pressure as Karnataka throwing their wickets away, but at various stages in the first half of the day, there was some sumptuous batting on view. State under-22 skipper Satish was the obvious star, kicking on to make a pleasing 120 (238m, 163b, 17x4. 3x6), while Amit Verma, Pandey and Uthappa held their own, the latter two particularly enterprising during a blistering sixth-wicket association.

Overnight 80 for two, Karnataka lost nightwatchman Udit Patel inside the first half hour, hard-working left-arm seamer Sandeep Jobanputra drawing first blood with a short ball that the batsman pulled down long-leg’s throat.

 For the next two and a quarter hours, Jaydev Shah rang the bowling changes, employed all his three spinners and watched with increasing dismay as Satish and the left-handed Verma took command. Without being as fluent as the previous evening, Satish continued to score freely, making the most of being put down by wicket-keeper Sagar Jogiyani off Jobanputra when just 52, while Verma shook off a hesitant start with crunching drives down the ground and through covers.  Satish was especially severe on left-arm -spinner Rakesh Dhruv, using his feet nicely to hit down the ground or take the aerial route. One such effort almost cost him his wicket, but Sitanshu Kotak at mid-wicket was a little slow to respond as Satish, then 88, flicked Dhruv just over the fielder’s head.

Second century
 A wonderfully whipped on-drive off Dhruv took him to his second century of the season, shortly after which Verma brought up his fifty before being bowled by Jobanputra following a stand of 125 (135m, 204b).
Satish fell soon afterwards, skying off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana to mid-off. That united Uthappa, looking for runs, and the classy Pandey in the middle and triggered a run fest, mostly through boundaries.

 Uthappa blasted his way into form while Pandey favoured the on-side as runs flowed in a torrent. With Saurashtra ripe for the taking, 103 came in just 95 deliveries when Pandey tonked offie Vishal Yadav to deep mid-wicket. Uthappa fell last ball before tea, a slog sweep putting Yadav in business again. Still advantage Karnataka, but it could have been even more emphatically so.

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