Karnataka denied 'home advantage'

Karnataka have five matches at home this Ranji Trophy season but if they are going to come up with pitches that aren’t going to aid their strength then they might as well be playing away from the comforts of their home.

With two down and a whole day to bat to avoid an innings defeat, Bengal negotiated 67 overs, before the rain wiped out the remaining 33 overs on the final day of a Group A match, rather comfortably to force a draw on Sunday. They lost Sudip Chattarjee at the start while the only other wicket -- Naved Ahmed -- to fall on the day came in the form of a run out.

Karnataka could have done with some more assistance for their pace-heavy attack on the opening day and, towards the end, a bit more wear and tear in a pitch which, as skipper R Vinay Kumar pointed out, suited a five-day match than a four-day one.
“Whenever we've played here, we've got result on 90 per cent of the time,” began Vinay, who bowled 17 wicketless overs in Bengal’s second innings. “This time the wicket became very slow. We couldn't trouble any batsmen; the ball was coming on slowly. Maybe if we had played a five-day game, it would have been better. It happened in the Irani Cup -- on the fifth day, it was very difficult to bat on. But it's okay, I'm happy with the wicket,” he remarked.

On the opening day, the pitch, despite sporting a heavy grass cover, settled down after an hour or so. And Bengal, who were reeling at 41/4, went on to make 312 against an attack that is easily one of the best, if not the best, in the country.

Talking about the wicket, Bengal’s centurion in the first-innings Sudip Chatterjee had this to say: “Initially there was some movement and the seamers were pegging away, but I must say once it settled down, it was a true wicket to bat on.”

There was not much assistance for the spinners either on the final day; the occasional slow turn wasn’t a big problem for Tiwary and Ahmed to deal with.

No one expects a pitch whe­re the ball will turn square fr­om day one but there no point in having a track which remains unaffected even after a session into final day’s play!

Tiwary, who saved the match with an unbeaten ton, admitted the pitch didn’t play too many tricks. “The cracks had opened up… So, that always plays on your mind,” he began. “… (But) there was not much spin. Apart from a little bit of reverse swing, there was not much happening for the bowlers. The odd ball went away, a couple of balls spun away, but nothing else.”

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