Karnataka survived a few tense moments before gaining the first-innings lead against Chhattisgarh on the third day of its Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘C’ match here on Thursday.
Karnataka started the day comfortably placed at 202 for one, in response to Chhattisgarh’s 311. The home team, however, lost five wickets in the morning session to enter Lunch at 287 for six.
It was left to Nikin Jose (67, 134b, 8x4, 1x6) and K. Gowtham (18, 24b, 3x4) to guide Karnataka through this tricky phase. Gowtham played a few attacking shots to ease the pressure, while Jose held one end up. The duo knocked off the 25 runs needed to get past Chhattisgarh’s total, before Gowtham fell to a pull shot off left-arm spinner Ajay Mandal.
By this point, Karnataka was in the clear. The unit was eventually dismissed for 366, with a 55-run innings lead.
For the second time in the match, Chhattisgarh openers Avnish Singh and Anuj Tiwary fell for ducks. Vidwath Kaverappa cleaned up Avnish in the third over, while V. Koushik got an inside edge to send back Tiwary.
Ashutosh Singh (8 batting) and Amandeep Khare (23 batting), stars of Chhattisgarh’s first essay, were unfazed for 16.5 overs until bad light stopped play. Chhattisgarh, which trails by 20 runs, will need big knocks from both batters to avoid defeat on the final day.
Earlier, Karnataka captain Mayank Agarwal managed to add only 15 runs to his overnight tally. Mayank returned for 117, taken by Mandal at mid-wicket off left-arm spinner Sumit Ruikar.
Vishal Onat (32, 120b, 3x4) was run-out, going for a needless single to mid-off. Manish Pandey (5), who scored an unbeaten double century in the previous match, stepped out to Mandal and was stumped.
Chhattisgarh scalped Shreyas Gopal (23) and B.R. Sharath (6) in quick succession to enter Lunch on a high.
Jose’s crucial knock was marked by clean technique and sound temperament. Jose, who came in at two-drop, dug Karnataka out of a hole and was the last batter to be dismissed.