Shreyas' big ton pushes Mumbai to a corner

Karnataka push for victory after taking 397-run lead

Shreyas' big ton pushes Mumbai to a corner

Shreyas Gopal's big century was a reflection of Karnataka's hunger to remain in the dominant position against Mumbai in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

On the third day of the contest here at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium, Shreyas, resuming from 80, remained unbeaten on 150 as Karnataka raised a massive first-innings lead of 397 after being all out for 570. They then  dismissed three Mumbai batsmen for 120, attempting to force a win over the next two days.

Karnataka, overnight 395/6, lost skipper R Vinay Kumar (37) in the fourth over of the day but that turned out to be the only bright moment of the morning for Aditya Tare's men. Shreyas, oozing with confidence, stitched 73 with K Gowtham (38) and added 92 with S Arvind (51, 41b) for the last wicket. Mumbai's body language left a lot to be desired and Arvind, whose breezy knock included nine fours and a six, rubbed more salt into their wounds.  

Mumbai, staring at massive defeat, began their second essay in a shaky manner by losing openers Prithvi Shaw (14) and Jay Bista (20) early. Suryakumar Yadav's (55 n.o.) 80-run stand with Akhil Herwadkar offered some relief to them. However, Gowtham, who had accounted for Bista, dismissed Herwadkar at the fag end of the day.

Mumbai now trail by 277 runs and they face an uphill task to avoid defeat. Gowtham took his total tally to 30 wickets this season and the off-spinner will be the main man for Karnataka as they eye a semifinal berth.

For someone who was firmly in control for the majority of innings, Shreyas reached his fourth first-class hundred in a streaky manner. The right-hander scored a four off an edge that went between the first and third slips off Akash Parkar to reach the milestone. Shreyas then benefited from Mumbai's sloppy fielding effort. Herwadkar dropped him on 112 at short square-leg off Dhawal Kulkarni and Tare missed a regulation stumping when the batsman was on 123.

But Shreyas' effort was not all about luck as the youngster struck some stylish fours on both sides of the wicket. In what appeared like their last-ditch effort, the Mumbai bowlers sent down a string of bouncers and Gowtham eventually fell prey to the plan. The big-hitting right-hander got hit twice on his wrist while attempting to duck and later pulled one off Dhawal Kulkarni straight to mid-wicket.

Dhawal set up a hat-trick ball when he castled Mithun but Arvind slammed the third delivery for a four to deny the right-arm medium pacer. Arvind toyed with the Mumbai spinners by exhibiting a variety of shots. The left-hander slog-swept, came down the track and found the gaps with ease. Curtains fell on Karnataka's authoritative reply when Arvind was bowled early in the second session by Shivam Malhotra.

The rising Prithvi Shaw couldn't make amends for his first innings disaster as he could manage just 14 runs. The 18-year-old shouldered arms to a ball that slightly moved in from Arvind only to see his off-stump rattled. Herwadkar was dropped on eight by Mir Kaunain Abbas. The Karnataka player though had the last laugh when he later held on to a simple catch at short mid-wicket offered by the left-hander off Gowtham's bowling.

 

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