Saurashtra, after conceding a 39-run first innings lead, were relentless in their attack on the third day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal here at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Karnataka hit hard by the visitors’ onslaught, looked for a recovery. Amid the absorbing contest, Shreyas Gopal was in a battle of his own. Not once was he complacent during his 134-ball unbeaten 61 spread over 232 minutes.
Rearguard acts in cricket are often results of sheer strength of mind. Big games throw up big responsibilities. Shreyas, with his eighth first-class century, lapped up the challenge of excelling in an important match with terrific temperament.
A lot was happening around Shreyas. The intensity of the pumped up bowlers and the constant chatter from the opposition players can test the nerves of any player. However, Shreyas, appearing unflinched by the developments, scripted a knock of great value. Not letting the scoreboard pressure affect him, Shreyas adopted the good old method of playing to the merit of the ball. And at stumps, Shreyas’ effort had handed Karnataka a strong lead of 276 runs.
“He has always been a level-headed player. He is someone who knows his strengths and he knows where he can get runs and he will not go away from that. He has got some crucial runs when we are in difficult situations. To score half-centuries in both the innings is amazing. Getting 50 over here in the second innings is like getting a hundred,” said team-mate Karun Nair.
Having made his debut in the 2013-14 season, Shreyas has been a vital lower-order batsman for Karnataka. Nair felt his 25-year-old team-mate has further upped his game this season. “I have been playing with him from my school days, so these few days, this is the best I have seen him bat. He has taken responsibility and has also played according to the situation. He has taken a step forward in his game. His knock has kept us in a good position in this game,” said Nair.