Uthappa shines bright

Uthappa shines bright

Uthappa shines bright

Karnataka’s robust performance on the first two days of their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy encounter against Odisha had put them in a position of strength and it seemed only a case of bad weather would make them struggle for their second win of the season. And to the hosts’ misfortune, bad light and extended periods of light rain robbed major chunk of time on day three here at the SDNRW Stadium, leaving the defending champions disheartened.

On a day when only 33 overs of cricketing action took place, Robin Uthappa’s 19th first-class century, helped his side gain a first innings lead of 168 runs as Karnataka declared at 400 for nine. In response, Odisha lost opener Rajesh Dhuper in the very first over and the visitors will resume from 0/1 on the fourth and final day when the hosts will push for a win.

Resuming from their over­night score of 255 for three, Karnataka middle-order batsmen — Robin Uthappa (148) and Karun Nair (73) looked positive right from the beginning and pushed the lead past 100 in quick time. Despite losing Nair and Binny, the hosts scored at 4.5 runs per over, mustering 86 runs in 19 overs before bad light stopped play, an hour ahead of the scheduled time for lunch.

When play resumed, considering the fluctuating weather conditions, Karnataka, went after the Odisha bowling. The daring approach from the hosts saw them lose wickets in quick succession but the Vinay Kumar-led side managed to score 59 runs in 12 overs, before deciding on declaration.

Karnataka’s intentions to mount pressure on the Odisha batsmen in their second hit got a boost early on when Vinay sent back Dhuper in the first over but rain stopped proceedings and after close to three hours of delay the day’s play was called off.    
On a turning track, up against three spinners, Odisha will have to fight hard to save the match. Karnataka will be hoping that the weather permits them to go all out at their opposition and script a fine win.

Earlier, Karnataka’s batting was marked by Uthappa’s dashing display and the experienced campaigner entertained the crowd with some lusty hits to the fence. The 29-year-old reached his ton with a stylish boundary with a reverse sweep and fell two runs short of 150.

After the dismissal of Uthappa, Shreyas Gopal (13) and Vinay (13 n.o.) increased the lead further with their small yet useful contributions. For Odisha, Dhiraj Singh (3/156) and Suryakant Pradhan (3/94) shared six wickets between them.    

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