Karnataka pacers Vyshak Vijaykumar (four for 50) and V. Koushik (four for 37) delivered crushing blows to knock Rajasthan out on the first day of its Ranji Trophy Elite Group C match at Alur (II) Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
On a pitch which offered movement and bounce, Vyshak and Koushik blew Rajasthan out of the water. Rajasthan was bowled out for 129 in 45.3 overs, with none of the visiting batters up for the challenge.
Vyshak and Koushik hassled the batters by keeping a good length on off-stump. The men behind the bat had a busy day, as edges flew thick and fast.
Vidwath Kaverappa picked up two wickets to complete a clean sweep for the Karnataka fast bowlers.
Karnataka moved to 106 for two by close of play.
The writing was on the wall for Rajasthan when it lost four wickets in the first session. The wicket of opener K.S. Rathore (33, 54b, 5x4, 1x6), the fourth man to fall, opened the floodgates. Rathore, who looked settled, erred when he flashed hard at Vyshak to offer a catch to R. Samarth in the slips.
Captain Ashok Maneria was next to go, immediately after Lunch, caught-behind off Vyshak.
All hopes of a Rajasthan revival rested on Karan Lamba, who scored a century in the previous match. Like Rathore, Lamba appeared comfortable until a loose drive was grabbed by Nikin Jose at gully.
From 104 for six, Rajasthan folded in quick time.
Karnataka opener Samarth, with three centuries and an 81 to his name in the last four matches, was dismissed by Aniket Choudhary for eight. Samarth’s unhappy reaction indicated that the ball had clipped his pads.
Devdutt Padikkal (32, 47b, 5x4) showed signs of class in his return to competitive cricket. Padikkal, who was out for three months with an illness, impressed with a cover-drive and straight-drive of the highest quality. Half an hour before close of play, Padikkal got an inside edge and was bowled by Choudhary.
Captain Mayank Agarwal remained unbeaten on 49. Mayank received a life on 22, when he edged one to the wicketkeeper. The batter was recalled when it was found that bowler Arafat Khan had overstepped.
Incidentally, Mayank had benefitted from a similarly fortunate scenario in the game against Goa a couple of weeks ago.