Karnataka pull things back

Cricket Ranji Trophy : Assam dismissed for 194; champs make solid start in second hit

Karnataka pull things back

Having ceded advantage to Assam with an uncharacteristic batting display on an admittedly tricky surface on day one, Karnataka finished the second day of their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy opening fixture with their noses in front.

Boasting a far superior attack, Karnataka were expected to roll over the hosts, overnight 21/1 in pursuit of visitors’ 187 all out, early but the Assam batsmen showed pluck and patience to leave the rival bowlers a frustrated lot. But their limited batting resources stood exposed once the top-order was taken care of by the Karnataka bowlers after some resistance here at the Barsapara Stadium on Friday.

Opener Pallav Kumar Das (55, 107b, 5x4, 1x6) and Karnataka import Amit Verma (57, 125b, 7x4, 1x6) joined the list of left-handed batsmen that have been amongst runs in this match so far without as much dominating the bowlers (the other being Shishir Bhavane, Karnataka’s lone half-centurion on Thursday). Skipper Gokul Sharma (30), who added 81 runs for the second wicket along with Pallav, and KB Arun Karthick (28), who raised 41 for the fourth wicket in the company of Verma, failed to capitalise on their starts as Assam’s innings folded for 194 in 78.5 overs, a lead of just seven runs.

Aggressive

Karnataka openers R Samarth (33 batting) and Mayank Agarwal (44 batting), who appeared overcautious in the first innings, were aggressive without being extravagant in the second hit.

The duo added 77 runs for the unbroken opening stand in 21 overs to help Karnataka establish a handy lead of 70 runs going into the third day.

Unlike in the first essay, Samarth and Agarwal showed positive intent and never allowed the bowlers to dictate terms to them. They weren’t hesitant to step out of the crease — either to smother the spin or drive through the line. Even after an early reprieve in the slips, Samarth refused to go into a shell while Agarwal slowly upped the tempo and raced past his partner.

“I think we should have been a little more positive yesterday with our batting,” pointed Karun Nair later. “Assam batsmen looked more positive in the morning and you could see the difference. I think Samarth and Mayank (in the second innings) did that today and the result is totally different. I think there was a lot to learn from Assam batsmen for us,” said the right-hander in an honest assessment.

It also helped to an extent that the pitch wasn’t behaving as deviously as it did on the opening day, reflected in the way Assam batsmen batted in the first session. A few difficult chances did go abegging, but the home batsmen seemed comfortable as they threatened to take the match away from Karnataka with Pallav and Sharma building a valuable partnership and cutting into visitors’ insignificant total.

J Suchith’s change of ends did the first trick for Karnataka. Coming in to bowl his second spell of the day from the pavilion end, from where Syed Mohammed had consumed seven Karnataka batsmen on the opening day, the Ranji debutant turned one sharply across Sharma and the resultant nick was taken by wicketkeeper CM Gautam. The introduction of Karun Nair in the next over paid off immediately when a well-set Pallav played the part-time off-spinner all over and was trapped in front.

If Karnataka thought they had found a little opening, Assam shut it firmly as Verma and Karthick stitched a handy partnership. The ever-reliable Vinay Kumar, however, separated the two, catching Karthick in front. The rest of the batsmen didn’t measure up to the task even as Verma waged the lonely battle. It wasn’t long before the experienced Karnataka closed in on Assam’s innings to place themselves in a strong position.

SCORE BOARD

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 187 all out.
ASSAM (I Innings; O/n: 21/1): Pallav Das lbw Nair 55 (150m, 107b, 5x4, 1x6), Sarupam Purkayastha b Vinay 3 (30m, 18b), Gokul Sharma c Gautam b Suchith 30 (115m, 74b, 5x4), Amit Verma lbw Shreyas 57 (185m, 125b, 7x4, 1x6), KB Arun Karthick lbw Vinay 28 (68m, 50b, 3x4), Tarjinder Singh b Sharath 6 (35m, 23b, 1x4), Sibsankar Roy lbw Nair 1 (3m, 3b), Syed Mohammed c Vinay b Samarth 4 (52m, 44b), Abu Nechim Ahmed b Shreyas 6 (12m, 16b, 1x4), Arup Das (not out) 0 (12m, 12b), Krishna Das (run out) 0 (5m, 2b). Extras (B-2, NB-1, W-1) 4. Total (all out, 78.5 overs) 194.

Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Purkayashta), 2-91 (Sharma), 3-91 (Pallav), 4-133 (Karthick), 5-160 (Tarjinder), 6-161 (Roy), 7-180 (Mohammed), 8-191 (Abu Nechim), 9-194 (Verma).
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 16.5-6-20-2, A Mithun 12-5-28-0, HS Sharath 12-4-22-1, Shreyas Gopal 12-1-43-2, J Suchith 16-1-58-1, Karun Nair 5-0-11-2, R Samarth 5-2-10-1.
KARNATAKA (II Innings): R Samarth (batting) 33 (91m, 58b, 4x4), Mayank Agarwal (batting) 44 (91m, 68b, 5x4). Total (for no loss, 21 overs) 77.

Bowling: Arup Das 5-0-14-0, Krishna Das 4-1-24-0, Syed Mohammed 7-1-17-0, Abu Nechim Ahmed 2-0-9-0, Amit Verma 3-0-13-0.

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