Ranji Trophy: Mayank, Mithun heroics take Karnataka home

Karnataka pocketed their third win of the season, mauling Maharashtra by an innings and 136 runs on the final day.

Mayank Agarwal was named Man-of-the-Match for his 304 not out.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Three matches. Three wins.

Karnataka seems incapable of putting a foot wrong this Ranji Trophy season. All it took for this formidable unit to force its latest victory, against Maharashtra by an innings and 136 runs, was just a couple of hours on the final day.

On another cold morning — the winter is setting in nicely in this western Indian city — the host had resumed at 135 for four. It was going to be a well-nigh impossible task to bat out an entire day. That too, against a bowling attack that performed superbly at the Maharashtra Cricket Stadium.

Scorecard

The overnight pair of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rahul Tripathi, had already added 51 for the fifth wicket, raising the faintest of hopes. Another 15 runs later, however, that partnership was broken by Abhimanyu Mithun, who continued from where he left off on the previous afternoon. He had Gaikwad caught at point by Karun Nair for 65 (130b, 169min, 10x4).

READ: Coach pleased with the team; Karun Nair aims for India return

He soon also accounted for Tripathi, who, for the second time in the match, impressed with his strokeplay. He had made 51 (55b, 7x4, 1x6) when he was taken at short cover by Mayank Agarwal off Mithun, who then had Chirag Khurana caught behind with a ball that swung in a bit.

Ranji Trophy: Hyderabad secures bonus point with 10-wicket win

That was the fifth wicket in the innings for the 28-year-old seamer, who has played four Tests and five one-dayers. He worked up good pace, got some bounce and moved the ball, never allowing the Maharashtra batsmen to settle down.

The privilege of officially putting the last nail on Maharashtra’s coffin though went to Karun, who bowled Pradeep Dadhe with his part-time off-spin. Watching in despair at the other end was wicket-keeper Rohit Motwani, who remained unconquered on 49 (75b, 105min, 9x4).

Read: Mayank delighted to be in elite company

Karnataka coach P.V. Shashikanth, in his first season with the senior team, was beaming when he met reporters after the match. “I am particularly pleased with the way the boys bowled on this wicket, especially R. Vinay Kumar, who set up the match for us on the first day, and then Mithun, in the second innings,” he said. “I was also happy to see Mayank curbing his natural instinct in order to build an innings.”

“We were outplayed by a superior team,” admitted Maharashtra captain Ankit Bawne.

Karnataka now is on 20 points to retain its pole position in Group A, followed by Delhi (17), Railways (13) and Maharashtra (7).

Mayank was named Man-of-the-Match for his 304 not out.