Ranji Trophy: Juyal resists but Mithun persists

Last Updated 17 December 2019, 18:35 IST

Talented teenager Aryan Juyal scored a composed century but veteran Abhimanyu Mithun’s heroics late in the day ensured Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka shared the honours on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group B encounter here on Tuesday.

On a pitch that required patience and perseverance, both Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka exhibited the same for large parts of an attritional day at the KSCA Stadium, but it seemed like the visitors would walk away the happier lot, thanks to the brilliance of 18-year-old Juyal and young Mohammad Saif.

Juyal, hardly playing a shot in anger and determined to make a statement in just his second first-class game, hit a patient 251-ball 109 (11x5), and his fourth-wicket stand with Saif (56 batting, 124b) took Uttar Pradesh to a commanding position. But 30-year-old Mithun, returning to the squad after recovering from a back spasm, conjured all his experience and dished out some vintage stuff, scalping two wickets in the final passage of play to reduce Uttar Pradesh to 232/5 at stumps.

Mithun (3/45), toiling hard all day with very little luck as edges fell short and appeals were turned down, first sent the well-set and dogged Juyal packing in the 84th over. He pitched the ball up and Juyal, losing concentration after a 341-minute stay at the crease, fell for the bait by flashing at it. A waiting Devdutt Padikkal at wide-ish third slip lobbed it neatly, Karnataka breathing a huge sigh of relief at ending the 109-run association between Juyal and Saif.

A pumped up Mithun, with the second new ball in his hand, then sent Rinku Singh packing with a similar pitched up delivery, this time wicketkeeper BR Sharath collecting the straightforward chance. Mithun, with the afterburners on, kept coming at Saurabh Kumar and Saif, several balls flying past their edges. But the UP duo braved the testing spell — 4-0-13-2 — to set the stage for an engrossing second’s day play.

While Karnataka owe their comeback late in the day to Mithun, who bowled his heart out on a sun-kissed day, the undisputed hero of the day though was Juyal. Son of doctors who moved to Dehradun from Haldwani as an eight-year old to give wings to his cricketing dreams, Juyal batted with maturity of a seasoned opener.

With Karnataka pacers Mithun and Ronit More bowling tight lines in the morning, he relied on his defences and age-old art of leaving the deliveries. Karnataka bowlers, barring David Mathias, bowled disciplined lines and lengths, asking questions continuously but Juyal dealt with it calmly.

He didn’t to the same mistake he did in his debut game against Railways last week, choosing only the rank bad balls to unveil his stroke play. There’s wasn’t a single shot in air. The cheers from the school kids he received upon century was richly deserving.

Juyal trudged back extremely disappointed after gifting his wicket his way that gave Karnataka an opening. The hosts will now be hoping to make the most of the morning conditions while UP will be banking on Saif.

(Published 17 December 2019, 17:01 IST)

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