Ganesh leads Vidarbha fightback

Right-hander slams 71 n.o. as Karnataka fail to drive home advantage

Ganesh leads Vidarbha fightback

On a day hit by bad light, Vidarbha's Ganesh Satish shone the brightest. Ganesh, a centurion for Karnataka in their triumphant 2013-14 Ranji Trophy final, slammed a crucial half-century against his native State as the Ranji semifinal here at the Eden Gardens took an interesting turn.

Overcast conditions forced an hour's  delay before the start and as many as 32 overs were lost when the third day's play was called off as the light deteriorated fast. After a first innings debacle, an improved show from Vidarbha saw them reach 195/4. A breezy 88-run stand between Ganesh and Apoorv Wankhade (49, 48b, 10x4) kept Vidarbha alive in the contest. With a lead of 79 runs in their bag, the job is far from over for Vidarbha. A lot depends on how Ganesh, going strong at 71 (128b, 2x4), takes his innings forward and their weak lower-order will be put to test.

Karun Nair's unbeaten 148 had given Karnataka the upper hand at the close of second day's play but the right-hand batsman added just five more runs to his overnight score on Tuesday. Resuming from 294/8, Karnataka folded for 301, bagging a first innings lead of 116 in the process. The 71-run stand between Vinay and Karun was broken by Umesh Yadav who trapped the former in front of wickets in the fourth over of the day. The India speedster then brought an end to the brilliant knock from Karun. The Karnataka batsman tried to upper cut a short ball that was too close to his body and only managed an edge to wicketkeeper.

Vidarbha's second hit appeared to be a mirror image of their first innings when they lost two wickets for 32 runs. Vinay accounted for his counterpart Faiz Fazal, catching him leg-before wicket and Stuart Binny scalped the other opener Sanjay Ramaswamy, caught behind with a peach of a delivery.

Wasim Jaffer got a good start but S Arvind trapped him in front early in the post-lunch session. The veteran batsman had survived a close call for leg before wicket off Arvind's bowling in the first session but the left-arm seamer had the last laugh. It was a fine effort to reduce Vidarbha to 62/3 but Vinay's men failed to seize the advantage.

Ganesh and Wankhade embraced an aggressive approach and the Karnataka pacers helped the batsmen execute their plans by bowling at least one boundary ball per over. Scoring slightly over four runs per over, Vidarbha knocked off the deficit in the 30th  over. Wankhade came down hard on the bowlers with some powerful drives even as Ganesh smartly rotated the strike.

Arvind, only bowler to have troubled the Vidarbha batsmen on the day, used his experience to give Karnataka the breakthrough. Coming from over-the-wicket, after little success against the duo from the other side, Arvind altered the pace of a full length ball at the last moment.   Wankhade, who was going for his shots right through his knock, played an uppish drive a touch early to Vinay at cover.

Ganesh, however, hung on to stitch 45 runs with Akshay Wadkar. Strong off the pads, the right-hander struck some superb on-drives for fours to put Karnataka bowlers off their lengths.

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