Karnataka at sniffing distance of victory

Assam slip to 169/6 after hosts declare at 469/7

Karnataka at sniffing distance of victory

Karnataka stayed on course to script a winning start to their campaign after tightening the noose around Assam on the third and penultimate day of their Group ‘A’ game here at the SDNRW stadium on Monday.

The hosts added 42 runs to their overnight score to declare at 469/7 in response to Assam’s 145. K Gowtham (149, 170b, 10x4, 6x6), who was the toast of the Karnataka batting with his brilliant first-class century on Sunday, could add just two runs to his total. It was a tame end to a dashing knock. Gowtham was caught in two minds to a short ball from Arup Das and ended up offering a return catch to the bowler. Shreyas Gopal, resuming from 38, completed his half-century before skipper R Vinay Kumar decided to put Assam to bat again.

Trailing by a huge margin of 323 runs, Assam faced an improbable task of avoiding an innings defeat. The visitors did offer some stomach for fight, with a 56-run stand between Sibsankar Roy (44, 102b, 8x4) and Gokul Sharma (62 n.o., 111b, 6x4). But it was far from enough as the other batsmen failed to rally around the duo. The visitors were precariously placed at 169/6 at stumps, still trailing the hosts by 154.

Karnataka were denied the possible chance of wrapping up the game in three days when bad light and rain forced the umpires to call off the day’s play 35 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Ahead of the fourth day, both the teams would be feeling a sense of déjà vu. Two seasons ago in Guwahati, Karnataka sat pretty going into the final day after setting Assam a target of 387. However, Assam batsmen showed the temperament required to pulled off a fighting draw.

In the current scenario, though the plot remains the same, repeating the success looks far from reality for Gokul’s men. With wicketkeeper Wasiqur Rahman, who injured his right knee on Saturday, doubtful to bat, Assam’s task looks improbable. While rain was a threat prior to the game, Assam would now be praying for the showers to rescue them.

While Gowtham (3/39) once again did well in the middle overs, Abhimanyu Mithun (2/29) gave the initial breakthroughs for Karnataka.

Mithun, wicketless in the first hit, looked hungry to make an impact. Running in hard, the right-arm medium pacer troubled the openers and first removed Pallav Kumar Das (5). Mithun surprised the southpaw with a ball that bounced more than expected and wicketkeeper CM Gautam completed a regulation catch. Mithun scalped Pritam Debnath (2) next when the right-hander, in his attempt to evade a bouncer, knicked one to gully and Abhishek Reddy flew to his left to pocket a brilliant catch.

Rishav Das’ (21, 60b, 3x4) resistance was broken by Vinay but Assam dug deep thanks to Sibsankar and Gokul. Gowtham brought smiles in the Karnataka camp when he dismissed Sibsankar caught at first slip. Five overs later, in a delivery that turned a bit, Gowtham sent back Tarjinder Singh whose flick was caught brilliantly by Abhishek at short-leg.

It was the first game of the season and I wanted to get into a rhythm. I was running in well. I wanted to bowl quick and take wickets,” said Mithun after the day’s play.

DH News Service

SCORE BOARD

ASSAM (I Innings): 145

KARNATAKA (I Innings; O/n: 427/6): K Gowtham c & b Arup 149 (214m, 170b, 10x4, 6x6), Shreyas Gopal (not out) 50 (149m, 93b, 3x4), R Vinay Kumar (not out) 27 (42m, 29b, 1x4, 1x6). Extras (NB-9, W-1, LB-5). Total (for 7 wkts, decl 126.4 overs) 469.

Fall of wickets: 7-429 (K Gowtham).

Bowling: Arup Das 41-7-113-4 (nb-1), Abu Nechim Ahmed 28-1-106-0 (nb-3), Sarupam Purkayastha 16-1-80-3 (nb-2), Rahul Singh 23.4-3-103-0 (nb-3) (w-1), Pallav Kumar Das 16-3-60-0, Gokul Sharma 2-0-2-0.

ASSAM (II Innings): Pallav Kumar Das c Gautam b Mithun 5 (35m, 21b, 1x4), Rishav Das b Vinay 21 (118m, 60b, 3x4), Pritam Debnath c Reddy b Mithun 2 (10m, 7b), Sibsankar Roy c Vinay b Gowtham 44 (140m, 102b, 8x4), Gokul Sharma (not out) 62 (162m, 111b, 6x6), Tarjinder Singh c Abhishek b Gowtham 6 (22m, 21b, 1z4), Swarupam Purkayastha lbw Gowtham 14 (54m, 39b), Abu Nechim Ahmed (not out) 8 (15m, 16b). Extras (NB-2, B-4, LB-1) 7. Total (for 6 wkts, 63 overs) 169.

Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Pallav), 2-19 (Debnath), 3-50 (Rishav), 4-106 (Sibsankar), 5-122 (Tarjinder), 6-152 (Swarupam).

Bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 11-2-29-2 (nb-1), R Vinay Kumar 9-4-19-1 (nb-1), K Gowtham 16-4-39-3, S Arvind 9-2-34-0, Stuart Binny 5-2-9-0, Shreyas Gopal 12-3-32-0, R Samarth 1-0-2-0.

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