Karnataka press for victory

Cricket Ranji Trophy : Opener Samarth slams 131 as champions set 388-run target for Assam

Karnataka press for victory

 Karnataka took a firm step towards earning a full complement of points from their season’s Ranji Trophy opener against Assam with a dominant performance on the third and penultimate day of their Group ‘A’ match here on Saturday.

The defending champions, overnight 77/0, declared their innings closed at 394 for eight from 94 overs to set an improbable target of 388 for the hosts. R Samarth (131, 199b, 12x4), who stroked his way to his third Ranji hundred and second against Assam, was the rock around which the visitors built their substantial second innings total after a disappointing display in the first innings.

With a maximum of 15 overs to negotiate for the day, Assam began confidently before opener Sibsankar Roy, shaken after being struck on the back of his head by an HS Sharath bouncer, was dismissed leg-before by J Suchith at the stroke of which the day’s play was called off. His opening partner Pallav Kumar Das was batting on 21.

Having finished the day at 30/1 from 11 overs in fading light, Assam have an onerous task of saving the match on a final day pitch that has confounded both teams with its behaviour so far. While 20 wickets fell in the first five sessions of play, mainly to spinners, only nine batsmen have been dismissed since then. While both sides maintained that the pitch offered as much help to spinners on the third day as it did on the opening day, the positive approach from the Karnataka batsmen appears to have done  the trick.

The shift in their method in the second innings was evident towards the end of the second day’s play itself when both Samarth and his opening partner Mayank Agarwal (47) batted with carefree attitude without being careless. Where the two seemed bogged down in the first innings, the first boundary coming only in the ninth over, they were unafraid to play their strokes in the second knock.

This was the theme throughout Karnataka’s innings with batsmen without any exception playing with a lot more intent and purpose. Never during any stage of their innings did Shishir Bhavane (40), Karun Nair (34), CM Gautam (44) and Shreyas Gopal (41) show an inclination to get to the immediate possible milestone as Karnataka scored at 4.34 runs per over on the day, allowing them to declare their innings with just over an hour’s play left in the day.

Assam bowlers didn’t help their cause, especially pacers, by giving away too many boundary balls. Off-spinner Sarupam Purkayastha (3/78) was impressive in patches but bowlers from the other end couldn’t sustain the pressure.

“I thought I will be a bit more positive,” said Samarth, talking about his innings. “The coach too told me to go with a positive mindset… I think I got a bit bogged down in the first innings. I am happy with my innings because I think it has come at the right time. It’s going to be difficult to bat for them in the fourth innings. The cracks are widening, it’s become a bit hard now. I think it’s going to turn and bounce, so hopefully we will get them all out soon tomorrow,” he offered.

The right-hander hoped Karnataka spinners will make the most of the help that the pitch is offering. “There’s still help in the pitch for the spinners but I thought they (Assam bowlers) didn’t quite make use of the conditions.”

After conceding the first innings lead, albeit a narrow one, the onus was on Karnataka to make a fist out of it and so far they have done all they needed to get the maximum out of this game.

score board

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 187 all out
ASSAM (I Innings): 194 all out

KARNATAKA (II Innings; O/n: 77/0): R Samarth c Tarjinder b Purkayastha 131 (319m, 199b, 12x4), Mayank Agarwal C (sub) Sinha b Mohammed 47 (120m, 76b, 5x4), Robin Uthappa c Pallav b Purkayastha 18 (34m, 24b, 4x4), Shishir Bhavane lbw Purkayastha 40 (88m, 75b, 6x4), Karun Nair c Tarjinder b Verma 34 (54m, 47b, 3x4), CM Gautam c Chetry b Mohammaed 44 (101m, 65b, 4x4), Shreyas Gopal (run out) 41 (64m, 56b, 6x4), Vinay Kumar b Arup 1 (8m, 6b), J Suchith (not out) 24 (20m, 13b, 1x4, 2x6), A Mithun (not out) 2 (12m, 3b). Extras (B-7, LB-5) 12. Total (for 8 wkts declared, 94 overs) 394.

Fall of wickets: 1-99 (Agarwal), 2-145 (Uthappa), 3-226 (Bhavane), 4-277 (Nair), 5-290 (Samarth), 6-358 (Shreyas), 6-363 (Vinay), 8-369 (Gautam).
Bowling: Arup Das 10-0-48-1, Krishna Das 12-2-64-0, Syed Mohammed 29-4-91-2, Abu Nechim Ahmed 10-0-39-0, Amit Verma 12-0-54-1, Sarupam Purkayastha 17-1-78-3, Gokul Sharma 4-0-8-0.

ASSAM (II Innings): Pallav Das (batting) 21 (55m, 37b, 4x4), Sibsankar Roy lbw Suchith 8 (55m, 30b, 1x4). Extras (LB-1) 1. Total (for 1 wkt, 11.1 overs) 30.
Fall of wicket: 1-30 (Roy).

Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 4-2-6-0, A Mithun 2-0-9-0, J Suchith 1.1-0-3-1, Karun Nair 2-0-7-0, HS Sharath 2-1-4-0.



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