There was no dearth of action at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday. A total of 17 wickets tumbled on the opening day of this Ranji Trophy contest, with Karnataka as the happier side at the close of play.
Baroda was bowled out for 85 after being put in, Abhimanyu Mithun (3/26) and Prasidh Krishna (2/7) ripping through the top order. The visitor then struck back, with Karnataka 165 for seven at the close of play, 80 runs ahead.
The home side lost its openers early, Abhimanyusingh Rajput excising both batsmen. K.V. Siddharth and Karun Nair then added 61 runs for the third wicket, hauling Karnataka into the lead. It was smooth until Siddharth stepped out to Bhargav Bhatt. He failed to get to the pitch of the ball, instead lofting it high for the mid-off fielder to settle under. Karun departed soon after for a composed 47, bowled playing inside the line to the left-arm spin of Bhatt.
Soyeb Sopariya accounted for Pavan Deshpande and Shreyas Gopal off successive deliveries, reducing Karnataka to 110 for six. K. Gowtham then gave the ball a whack, as is his wont. The all-rounder struck a 16-ball-27, including two towering sixes, before steering the ball into the hands of the gully fielder. Sharath Srinivas and Mithun batted with a measure of caution, however, taking their side through to stumps.
In the morning, Prasidh Krishna struck 11 balls into his comeback. The fast-bowler was returning from a three-month absence forced by an injury, but he operated as if he had never been away. Prasidh's ability to generate uncomfortable bounce from a good length was on display as a surprised Kedar Devdhar fended the ball to third slip. Vishnu Solanki fell in similar fashion, edging behind without scoring.
Baroda made it to the first drinks break without further damage but there were dramatic scenes on the other side. Three wickets fell in the space of four balls in one Mithun over — the 20th of the innings. First, Deepak Hooda edged a full delivery to Deshpande at first slip. Krunal Pandya was then dismissed first ball, pulling Mithun straight to square leg. It was a poor shot for the Baroda captain to attempt under the circumstances. There was no hat-trick but Mithun struck one ball later, Rajput caught swishing outside the off-stump.
In the next over, sent down by Gowtham, Parth Kohli charged down the pitch, only to chip the ball tamely to mid-off. Baroda had collapsed to 43 for six, having lost four for five in the space of eight balls. Gowtham finished with three for 45 as the touring side was bowled out in 33.5 overs, in just over two-and-a-half hours.
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