Gautam, Shreyas flay Mumbai

Duo notch fifties to help Karnataka reach 395/6 on day two for 222-run lead

Gautam, Shreyas flay Mumbai

After offering a taste of their aggression with the ball on the opening day, Karnataka handed Mumbai a lesson in batting on the second day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinals here at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Friday.

Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar's six-wicket haul had put the 41-time champions in a desperate situation on the first day. The Mumbai camp spotted worried looks at the close of play thanks to Karnataka's batting depth. Resuming from 115/1, in response to Mumbai's 173 all out, Karnataka reached 395/6 at stumps, bagging a handsome first innings lead of 222 runs in the process.

It was a team effort as Mir Kaunain Abbas (50), C M Gautam (79) and Shreyas Gopal (80 n.o.) slammed half-centuries on the day. The Mumbai bowlers, barring Shivam Dube (5/79), failed to be effective. A gritty Abbas ground out the tough first session before a 103-run stand between Gautam and Shreyas kept Karnataka in control. Even as the settled batsmen failed to last long, vital partnerships helped Karnataka. Vinay (31 not out) and Shreyas, who added 74 runs together after Gautam's dismissal in the final session, will resume proceedings for Karnataka on the middle day of the contest.

Dube's smart bowling in the morning left Karnataka in a spot of bother. The debutant consistently bowled in the right areas and was rewarded for it. Mayank Agarwal, overnight 62, departed following a miscued pull off Shibam Malhotra after adding just 16 more runs to his total. Dube then removed dangerman Karun Nair (16) with a ball that moved in sharply to trap the right-hander in front. Pavan Desphande, who was edgy throughout his stay, became the right-arm medium pacer's third victim.

Abbas, picked in the side after first-choice D Nischal hurt his left index finger just before the toss, appeared determined. It wasn't the perfect innings but the right-hander showed great temperament in handling the pace attack. Abbas' stay ended when he slightly played across the line to Dube and was out leg before wicket.

Reprieve for Gautam

In the second session, the golden phrase of cricket – catches win matches -- came to haunt Mumbai. Even as Karnataka were looking to increase their lead, Gautam, batting on nine, was dropped by Suryakumar Yadav at first slip off Akash Parkar. It proved to be costly as Gautam, searching for his first big knock of the season, essayed a counter-attacking knock. His innings, laced with 12 fours and a six, damaged the morale of the Mumbai bowlers.

Dube was once again the wicket-taker when he scalped Gautam leg before wicket with a sharp cutter. Shreyas' was clinical throughout and handled the second new ball with strokes of sweet timing. With the hard-hitting K Gowtham waiting for his turn, Mumbai have their task cut out.

"I thought going for my shots was the best method here. If I had knocked around then it wouldn't have helped me. I knew that if I start attacking then they would experiment and bowl some short balls at me. My approach worked well," said Gautam.

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