Bowlers put Karnataka in control

Gowtham, Shreyas shine to skittle Assam for paltry 145

Bowlers put Karnataka in control

Karnataka’s near-perfect bowling display saw them dominate proceedings on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy tie against Assam here at the SDNRW stadium on Saturday.

Put into bat, Assam failed to measure up to the test of Karnataka bowling and were skittled for 145 in two sessions. On a day when everything went Karnataka’s way, Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham were the standout performers. The hosts expectedly went in with two spinners at the expense of a batsman and the decision was vindicated.

Shreyas was impressive with his variations and the leg-spinner returned with figures of 3/43. If Shreyas rattled the top order, Gowtham made sure there was no late burst from Assam to finish with 4/20.

It appeared that the visitors had no plan or purpose and barring skipper Gokul Sharma (55, 114b, 4x4, 2x6), who received a reprieve off the very first ball he faced, none of the batsmen put price on their wickets.

In contrast, batting appeared smooth when Karnataka began their response. The classy R Samarth (47, 106b) along with Mayank Agarwal (26b, 78b, 3x4) put on an unbroken 77 for the first wicket. It was an innings marked with fine timing and concentration as Samarth slammed three fours while Mayank was patient during his stay.

Trailing by 68 runs, the hosts will be eyeing a huge lead to stay in the driver’s seat. Assam would require an inspired effort if they are to produce a turnaround in the contest.

Earlier, after rain stayed away, Assam openers Pallav Kumar Das (15) and Rishav Das (26) showed resistance for the first 45 minutes. The Karnataka pace trio of skipper R Vinay Kumar (2/17), Abhimanyu Mithun and S Arvind kept coming hard at the batsmen and frustrated them by offering no leeway. Vinay provided the first breakthrough for Karnataka when he dismissed southpaw Pallav caught behind. Assam were reduced to 29/2 when Pritam Debnath (0) was brilliantly caught at second slip by Kaunain Abbas off Stuart Binny (1/10).

Rishav Das and Sibsankar Roy tried to dig deep but their partnership was cut short at 28 runs thanks to Shreyas. The wrist spinner had Rishav caught at first slip and bowled Gokul in the very next delivery to be on a hat-trick. However, Gokul survived as Shreyas had overstepped. The dependable Vinay made sure Karnataka went to lunch break with some momentum. The veteran induced an edge off Sibsankar Roy and Abbas dived to his right to latch on to another superb catch at first slip.

Resuming from 60/4 post lunch, Assam batting imploded against the might of Karnataka spinners. Tarjinder Singh (6) failed to read a googly from Shreyas and was trapped in front. On the next ball, Wasiqur Rahman (0) saw his stumps rattled as Assam’s innings stared down the barrel at 71/6.

Receiving slight turn from the track, Gowtham sprung into action to clean up the tail. Gokul waged a lone battle by hitting some lusty blows but eventually ran out of support.

“I worked in tandem with Shryeas. The idea was to set up the batsmen, be patient and work for the wickets,” said Gowtham.

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