Karnataka call shots on Day One

Karnataka call shots on Day One

Vidarbha frustrated Karnataka with an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 44 runs to end the first day of their Elite Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy game at 245 for eight here on Monday.

The defending champions elected to bat at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium but it was Karnataka who appeared the better side on the day thanks to impressive bowling from Abhimanyu Mithun (3/32) and J Suchith (3/25).

Karnataka opened bowling with their trusted pair of R Vinay Kumar (1/34) and Mithun. The focus was on the skipper as he was playing his 100th Ranji game for his State but it was Mithun who caused the early damage.

There was no dearth of his trademark over enthusiasm as he began proceedings but it helped Karnataka that Mithun was also focused on his line and length. The 29-year-old produced a brilliant first spell of 7-1-18-2 to give the visitors a fine start. 

He first dismissed Sanjay Ramaswamy with a rising delivery. The right-hander edged it to second slip to depart for nine. Captain Faiz Fazal looked out of sorts and fell soon, poking one to second slip off Mithun.    

If Mithun impressed in the morning, it was his club-mate J Suchith who made a difference in the final session. The left-arm spinner, back in the side in the absence of K Gowtham, got good turn of the surface to bag three quick wickets. His second spell of 9-4-15-3 derailed the Vidarbha innings.

What prevented the hosts from collapsing to a paltry total were two crucial partnerships. First, at 31/2, Vidarbha gained control courtesy an 85-run alliance between the seasoned combination of Wasim Jaffer (41, 102b, 4x4) and Ganesh Satish (57, 141b, 7x4). Jaffer was flawless till he attempted a drive Stuart Binny away from the body and dragged the ball on to stumps.

Ganesh, who survived a close call off Mithun when he was on nought, batted sensibly against the pacers.

The former Karnataka batsman likes succeeding against his home state. Having notched two fifties in three previous Ranji games against Karnataka, Ganesh was once again threatening to produce a big one. But Suchith got him to edge one to first slip on the second ball post tea to Karnataka’s relief. Suchith removed Aditya Sarvate (14) and Akshay Wadkar (31) – both edging behind the wickets – in quick succession.

At 201 for eight, Vidarbha survived to bat the next day thanks to Shreekant Wagh’s 58-ball 37 that included six fours. Wagh rightly didn’t show the recklessness seen in tail-enders but on the contrast played some delightful strokes to the fence. He was in the company of Lalit Yadav (7, 50b, 1x4) and the duo would be eyeing to take the total as far possible on Tuesday.

Karnataka, meanwhile, gave debut to three players. As expected, B R Sharath donned the wicketkeeping duties while K V Siddharth was preferred over Shishir Bhavane. Prasidh Krishna, having made a rousing first-class debut against Bangladesh A three years ago, also played his first Ranji game.