Almas Shaukat scored his second first-class century as the attritional Ranji Trophy Group B encounter between Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh came to an expected conclusion — a tame draw.
Karnataka needed an extraordinary performance with the ball on the final morning or some serious self-destruction from UP batsmen to bag full six points but that was not to be at the KSCA Stadium. Southpaw Shaukat hit a fluent 210-ball 103 (14x4, 1x6) and good knocks from Madhav Kaushik (45) and Akshdeep Nath (38) ensured there would be no drama on the concluding day.
Karnataka started the day with some spunk, hoping a few early breakthroughs would cause anxiety in the UP camp. But with the pitch not offering much help for both the pacers and spinners, there wasn’t much they could do to enforce a result. They bowled probing lines in the morning and Shaukat and Kaushik easily saw off the opening hour, and thereafter both teams just tried to go through the motions. Barring an edge here and there or a good piece of fielding, there wasn’t any excitement and even the usually noisy Karnataka dressing room remained silent.
The 24-year-old Shaukat, who scored an unbeaten 92 in the previous game against Railways, realised this was another good chance to showcase his talent and he went about his business like a professional.
As he kept soldiering on and Karnataka eased their foot on the pedal — the hosts happy with the three points — the focus was if the left-hander would complete a ton.
Shaukat reached that milestone around tea time and immediately the captains were happy to shake hands.
Karnataka now travel to Mysuru to take on Himachal Pradesh from Christmas Day.