Ranji Trophy: Karnataka in front, only just

Karnataka in front, only just

Karnataka's Abhimanyu Mithun successfully appeals for the caught behind dismissal of Baroda's Abhimanyusingh Rajput on Wednesday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

At 88/2, Karnataka, having surpassed Baroda’s meagre 85 all out, were slowly but surely assuming control of the match. K V Siddharth looked composed while skipper Karun Nair appeared compact, betraying few signs of a batsman in the middle of a prolonged slump in form.

Something then just triggered and Siddharth, uncharacteristically, tried to hoick left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt out of the park. The miscued shot was well-taken by Parth Kohli, back-peddling from mid-off. It snapped a 61-run stand for the third wicket and opened the floodgates. By the end of Wednesday’s opening day proceedings, Baroda, who looked down and out for the count after a shoddy batting show, had regained the considerable ground they had lost in their final Group B Ranji Trophy match here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Karnataka had a golden chance of shutting Baroda out of the game but once again their batting let them down. At close on an extended evening, they were 165/7, a lead of 80 runs. And should the pitch retain its nature on the second day, this could prove critical in the final outcome. That said, the hosts should be disappointed with the fact that they couldn’t take advantage of the absence of one of Baroda’s main bowlers – Babasafikhan Pathan who limped off after bowling 3.5 overs with a hamstring injury.

While bowlers had reward in store if they hit the right areas, as shown by bowlers from either side, the stand between Siddharth and Nair also indicated that there were runs to be scored if the batsmen applied themselves. The application was certainly at premium on the day.

The day began well for Karnataka who won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch that had generous sprinkling of grass. The comeback man Prasidh Krishna (2/7) added the much-needed vitality to the attack with his pace and it didn’t take too long for the results to come.

On a pitch with good carry, bounce and just a hint of movement, the paceman drew first blood by dismissing Kedar Devdhar who was squared up with a lifter from good length. Soon, in what was an action replay, he had one-down Vishnu Solanki. Once he gave the opening in an impressive spell of 6-1-7-2, his senior mate A Mithun (3/26) took over. After a wicketless but controlled opening spell, Mithun ripped through Baroda middle-order with three wickets in four balls on his return to attack.

He induced an edge off Deepak Hooda before surprising skipper Krunal Pandya with a well-directed bouncer. Abhimanyusingh Rajput denied him the hat-trick but couldn’t survive the second ball he faced, handing Mithun his third wicket. K Gowtham (3/25) then got into act as Baroda innings folded in just 161 minutes.     

The visiting bowlers, despite losing B Pathan early in the piece, didn’t lose heart. On a responsive pitch, they just had to maintain discipline which they did with aplomb. On the other hand, the Karnataka batsmen played some needless shots and paid the price. Siddharth, R Samarth, who chased a widish delivery, and K Gowtham, who patted the ball straight to gully as if giving catching practice, were three of the biggest culprits. But Baroda had let themselves so badly with the bat that Karnataka, notwithstanding their self-inflicted damage, still have their noses in front.

SCORE BOARD

BARODA (I Innings): Kedar Devdhar c Samarth b Prasidh 3 (17m, 13b), Ahmadnoor Pathan c Deshpande b Gowtham 45 (148m, 83b, 8x4), Vishnu Solanki c Samarth b Prasidh 0 (25m, 17b), Deepak Hooda c Deshpande 20 (49m, 39b, 3x4), Krunal Pandya c Dubey b Mithun 0 (1m, 1b), Abhimanyusingh Rajput c S Sharath b Mithun 0 (2m, 2b), Parth Kohli c More b Gowtham 0 (4m, 2b), Viraj Bhosale b Gowtham 3 (15m, 9b), Bhargav Bhatt (run out) 0 (10m, 6b), Soyeb Sopariya b Shreyas 6 (30m, 25b, 1x4), Babasafikhan Pathan (not out) 6 (12m, 7b, 1x6). Extras (NB-1, L-1) 2. Total (all out, 33.5 overs) 85.

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Devdhar), 2-11 (Solanki), 3-38 (Hooda), 4-38 (K Pandya), 5-38 (Rajput), 6-42 (P Kohli), 7-51 (Bhosale), 8-56 (Bhatt), 9-73 (A Pathan)    

Bowling: A Mithun 11-2-26-3 (nb-1), Prasidh Krishna 6-1-7-2, Ronit More 7-1-22-0, K Gowtham 9-3-25-3, Shreyas Gopal 0.5-0-4-1.

KARNATAKA (I Innings): R Samarth c Bhosale b Rajput 11 (71m, 48b, 1x4), Devdutt Padikkal b Abhimanyu Singh 6 (51m, 30b, 1x4), Siddharth K V c P Kohli b Bhatt 29 (94m, 72b, 2x4, 1x6), Karun Nair b Bhatt 47 (95m, 75b, 6x4), Pavan Deshpande c Bhosale b Sopariya 15 (29m, 18b, 3x4), S Sharath (batting) 19 (61m, 37b, 4x4), Shreyas Gopal c Bhosale b Sopariya 0 (1m, 1b), K Gowtham c P Kohli b Sopariya 27 (28m, 16b, 3x4, 2x6), A Mithun (batting) 9 (21m, 16b, 1x4). Extras (NB-1, W-1) 2. Total (for 7 wkts, 52 overs) 165

Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Padikkal), 2-27 (Samarth), 3-88 (Siddharth), 4-102 (Karun Nair), 5-110 (Deshpande), 6-110 (Shreyas), 7-142 (Gowtham).

Bowling: Babasafikhan Pathan 3.5-1-10-0, Soyeb Sopariya 14-4-40-3, Abhimanyusingh Rajput 7.1-3-17-2, Bhargav Bhatt 18-2-67-2, Vishnu Solanki 8-0-30-0, Krunal Pandya 1-0-1-0.   

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