Ranji Trophy: Hasan led Hyderabad bounces back against Karnataka

A stellar show from left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan, who scalped four for 55, brought Hyderabad back into its Ranji Trophy contest against Karnataka.

Mehdi Hasan exults after dismissing Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal on Wednesday.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Karnataka stayed on course to take the first-innings lead, but failed to press home the advantage against Hyderabad here on Wednesday.

On the back of good spells from spinners Shreyas Gopal (five for 17) and K. Gowtham (three for 56), Karnataka dismissed Hyderabad for 136 to gain a 47-run lead.

A stellar show from left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan, however, brought Hyderabad back into the contest. At the start of Karnataka’s second essay, Hasan induced an inside edge to take out K.L. Rahul (23), while R. Samarth was sent back with a dream delivery.

The opening batsman shaped to defend one which pitched on middle, but watched in shock as the ball whizzed past the outside edge to hit off-stump. A delighted Hasan, who opened the bowling, explained later, “I used the breeze, and shine on the ball, to get some drift. I was thrilled when it worked against Samarth."

A nervous Mayank Agarwal was next to go. After failing to get off the mark in 21 deliveries, Mayank lost his composure and danced down the crease to attack  Hasan. A wild slog failed to make contact, leaving him in no man’s land. Mayank left the field with two runs to his name.

The plan to move Gowtham up the order to three-drop, in search of quick runs, did not work. An attempted hoick across the line fell flat, with Hasan winning a loud leg-before appeal. Gowtham appeared unhappy with the umpire’s decision, as he trudged back to the pavilion.

Karnataka was struggling at 57 for four at this point, with Hasan bagging all wickets to fall. Karun Nair (37 n.o., 75b) and Stuart Binny (27 n.o., 67b) did exceptionally well to withstand the mounting pressure. The duo ensured no further damage, taking Karnataka to a healthy 175-run lead at close of play.

Earlier, a Hyderabad batting collapse saw the unit fail to overtake Karnataka’s small 183 total. Overnight batter B. Sandeep was first to go, felled by a spectacular catch by C. M. Gautam. S. Arvind induced the edge, and a diving Gautam plucked the ball inches from the ground with his left hand.

Hyderabad entered lunch at 102 for five, before leg-spinner Gopal ran through the line-up. The accurate Gopal, who recorded his best figures in first-class cricket, said, “It is not easy to score runs. If Karun and Stuart carry on batting on Thursday, we will be in a good position.”
 

Brief scores

Karnataka - 1st innings: 183, Second innings: 128 (Karun Nair (batting) 37, Stuart Binny (batting) 27; Mehdi Hasan 22-5-55-4)

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Hyderabad - 1st innings: 136: (K. Sumanth 68, Akash Bhandari 24; K. Gowtham 17-2-56-3, Shreyas Gopal 9.4-1-17-5)