Karnataka consolidate

Karnataka consolidate

R Samarth and K Gowtham slammed centuries in contrasting fashions as Karnataka strengthened their hold on the Group ‘A’ encounter against Assam here at the SDNRW stadium on Sunday.

Samarth essayed a classy 123 (297m, 234b, 10x4) while Gowtham scored a whirlwind unbeaten 147 (203m, 158b, 10x4, 6x6), his maiden first class ton, to help the hosts take a handsome lead of 282 runs after they finished the second day at 427/6.

Assam, who endured a disappointing day at office on Saturday, were left with a humungous task of avoiding innings defeat. Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal (38), after putting together a stand of 109 of 128 balls, will look to pile more misery on the visitors when they resume Karnataka’s innings on the third day.

Resuming from 77/0 in response to Assam’s 145 all out, the eight-time champions showcased a fine example of collective batting effort. Assam seemed to have created a small opening when right-arm medium pacer Arup Das (3/101) dismissed Mayank Agarwal (31) and Abhishek Reddy (0) in the eighth over of the day. Agarwal missed a ball that kept low to be bowled while Reddy departed caught behind. However, Mir Kaunain Abbas (30) and Samarth worked their way to a 98-run stand for the fourth wicket

Assam once again enjoyed success when they saw the back of Abbas, Samarth and C M Gautam (3) in the space of 6.3 overs. At 215 for six, Karnataka appeared to be in a spot but Gowtham came to their rescue. In the company of Stuart Binny (41, 54b, 2x4, 1x6), the right-handed batsman forged an alliance of 103 runs.

Up the order

The decision of push Gowtham up the order turned out to be a masterstroke as the 28-year-old batted with a carefree approach and found great success. Walking in ahead of the experienced Gautam and and Binny, Gowtham looked at ease right from the start. The 28-year-old picked the length of the spinners well and dismantled them with his power. The first sign of aggression arrived when he smashed left-arm spinner Rahul Singh straight over his head for a six. In the very next over, Gowtham struck another huge six over mid-wicket off off-spinner Swarupam Purkayastha (3/80).

After racing to his half-century in 63 balls, Gowtham looked hungry for more. Gowtham’s innings was a complete package as he interspersed his courageous shot selection with good running between the wickets. If the spinners were punished first, the pacers weren’t spared either.

A cracking pull to the stands off Abu Nechim was followed by a straight six in a stand-and-deliver style off Pallav Kumar Das.

The final two sessions, which offered the maximum entertainment for the 200-odd fans in the stands, saw Karnataka collect 313 runs.

Earlier, Samarth anchored Karnataka’s innings with his trademark calm approach. Following a one-hour stoppage of play in the first session, Samarth, who started the day on 47, marched towards his century with his textbook style stroke-play.

The 24-year-old struck some delightful cover drives and essayed a few deft dabs down the third-man region to bring up his three-figure score. 

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