Ranji Trophy: Siddharth rescues Karnataka

FETH THAT!: Karnataka's KV Siddharth drives one to the fence during his unbeaten ton against Mumbai on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/ TAJUDDIN AZAD

If it was debutante BR Sharath who batted Karnataka out of trouble with a sparkling ton in their Ranji Trophy opener against Vidarbha, K V Siddharth put his hand up to place the hosts in a seemingly comfortable position against Mumbai.

Opting to bat first, Karnataka didn’t have the desired start and appeared to be losing their way as the final session approached. But Siddharth (104 n.o., 264m, 184b, 13x4, 2x6) stood firm to help them finish the opening day of their Group A match at 263 for four from 88 overs with bad light ending the extended session early here at the KSCA Stadium on Tuesday. Stand-in skipper Shreyas Gopal was giving him company on an unbeaten 47 (116m, 81b, 8x4), and having added 88 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket.

Karnataka suffered a body blow with their regular skipper R Vinay Kumar, who had declared himself fit on the eve of the match, pulling out due to a back niggle. His withdrawal meant Shreyas was named the skipper while it also handed Ronit More a look in, the Belagavi paceman playing his first match since November 2017.

The pitch kept the Mumbai pacers interested in the initial few overs and the Karnataka openers -- D Nischal and Shishir Bhavane -- needed to see off that phase. While Nischal negotiated it well, Bhavane, having played his last Ranji match more than three years ago, poked at Shivam Dubey’s third ball of the day -- 5.3 -- to see his return innings end in 25 minutes.

The ultra-cautious Nischal (27, 119m, 86b, 2x4) and Mir Kaunain Abbas (64, 224m, 154b, 10x4), the second replacement along with Bhavane for the duo of Karun Nair and R Samarth, then baulked the Mumbai attack to add 43 runs in 125 balls for the second wicket. Dubey, who took all the wickets to fall on the day, returned for his second spell to dismiss Nischal lbw with a full ball that the right-hander missed while attempting a flick.

At the other end Abbas was living a charmed life, edging and missing as he battled nerves. Dropped on one by stumper Aditya Tare off Badrey Alam, the right-hander scrapped his way to a sixth career half-century before falling to Dubey, playing a nothing shot. This ended the 104-run (200b) stand for the third wicket with just four overs left for tea.

Stuart Binny fell early once again, being trapped in front for three by Dubey (15-10-32-4) as umpires called tea with Karnataka slipping to 175/4 from 163/2 in the space of 21 balls.

Mumbai resumed the final session with their tails up even as Karnataka began the consolidation process. Post-tea, Shreyas walked in with Siddharth looking solid on 68. While caution would have been buzzing in the skipper’s mind, he didn’t fail to pounce on any scoring chances. Not to be left behind, Siddharth too got into the act as runs came thick and fast in the last session of the play. The right-hander, who had reached his fifty with a six off Shams Mulani, nudged the same bowler for a single to bring up his maiden 100 in only his second match.

For Mumbai, Dubey was the standout performer, ploughing the lone furrow all through the day. He bowled in three spells and got his team the breakthrough every time his skipper Dhawal Kulkarni threw the ball at him.

SCOREBOARD

KARNATAKA (I Innings): D Nischal lbw Dubey 27 (119m, 86b, 2x4), Shishir Bhavane c Mulani b Dubey 5 (25m, 11b, 1x4), Mir Kaunain Abbas c Tare b Dubey 64 (224m, 154b, 10x4), Siddharth K V (batting) 104 (264m, 184b, 13x4, 2x6), Stuart Binny lbw Dubey 3 (17m, 12b), Shreyas Gopal (batting) 47 (116m, 81b, 8x4). Extras (LB-5, NB-6, W-2) 13. Total (for 4 wkts , 88 overs) 263.

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Bhavane), 2-59 (Nischal), 3-163 (Abbas), 4-175 (Binny).

Bowling: Dhawal Kulkarni 18-5-39-0, Badrey Alam 19-2-66-0 (nb-5), Shivam Dubey 20-10-32-4, Karsh Kothari 20-2-68-0 (nb-1, w-2), Shams Mulani 9-0-40-0, Jay Bista 2-0-13-0. 

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Ranji Trophy: Siddharth rescues Karnataka

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