Ranji Trophy: Karnataka sends UP on leather hunt

Manish Pandey and D. Nischal put on 354 runs for the fourth wickets to leave Karnataka in command with a score of 642 for 7 at the end of Day Two.

Manish Pandey scored 238 at a strike-rate of 79.07.   -  Special Arrangement

Manish Pandey’s batting brilliance exposed the limitations in the Uttar Pradesh attack as Karnataka continued to inflict deep wounds in the rival camp for the second day running.

Pandey’s double century, his career-best effort, was the highlight of a day which saw D. Nischal miss the distinction by a mere five runs in the Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy match at the Green Park here on Saturday.

Scorecard

Uttar Pradesh ended the second day’s play with a daunting challenge as Karnataka amassed 642 for seven. The 354-run stand for the fourth wicket between Pandey and Nischal broke the back of Uttar Pradesh bowling and left the home team introspecting on its inconsistent selection policy which saw 20 players turning out in six matches, one player less than Haryana in Group ‘B’. Needless to say, both teams lie at the bottom of their respective groups.

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Karnataka’s robust cricket structure was on display as Nischal, 90 overnight, grew in the company of Pandey, who was in scintillating form after resuming at 63. Nischal, in his debut first-class century, batted 425 balls and hit 23 boundaries. Pandey’s knock came off 301 balls with 31 fours and two sixes.

Spending time in the middle

“I like to score every ball. I look to get a good single every ball. He (Nischal) was too slow for my style but he has a very good temperament and is a good batsman. I just told myself not to be complacent and I concentrated on staying as much as possible in the middle,” said Pandey.

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The 28-year-old Pandey, with an aggregate of 329 runs from three innings this season, played to his potential and reputation. His wide array of strokes set up Uttar Pradesh’s leather chase even as the bowlers strove to extract some help from the pitch. Uttar Pradesh toiled to take a wicket in the first session as Karnataka, resuming at 327 for three, plundered 161 runs before lunch and added another 112 runs to go in for tea at 600 for four. The lone dismissal was Nischal, who became seamer Dhruv Pratap Singh’s third wicket.

Three wickets for Imtiaz

Seamer Imtiaz Ahmed used the old ball well and struck thrice after tea, removing Pandey, Stuart Binny and Shreyas Gopal in that order. It was a deserving reward for the untiring Imtiaz, once rated high for his ability to seam the ball. His performance was the lone redeeming aspect of Uttar Pradesh, which was put to the sword by Nischal and Pandey.

“There was nothing in the pitch. We were not able to get much seam and swing too. I was waiting for the old ball to get some reverse swing going and that’s what worked for me. I enjoy bowling with the old ball,” said Imtiaz, the best bowler on view for Uttar Pradesh.