Shreyas Gopal scored his fifth First Class century (103 batting, 153b, 13x4, 1x6) as Karnataka took a mammoth 358-run lead to further tighten its grip on the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Uttarakhand at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
To the overnight total of 123 without loss, the home side added 351 runs on the second day. All four of Karnataka’s top-order batters threatened to reach the three-figure mark, but it was only Shreyas who showed the patience and discipline to make good on the promise.
Coming in at 307 for four, Shreyas combined with Manish Pandey for a 108-run partnership. Even as Manish played an uncharacteristically slow knock (39, 73b, 4x4), Shreyas scored brisk runs, with his six over long-on off left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh and the slapped four down the ground off pacer Nikhil Kohli standing out.
After tea, Shreyas feasted on some ordinary bowling from Uttarakhand, especially from its spinners. He moved to 96 with a steer to the third-man fence and then, on 99, drove left-arm tweaker Mayank Mishra off the last ball of the day to bring up a much-deserved hundred.
“There were nerves because I had gotten out on 95 (vs. Rajasthan),” Shreyas said. “I also started panicking a bit in the 40s because I had gotten out on 48 against Kerala. I want to be scoring one or two hundreds every season and I am glad I could do it after many years.”
Earlier, R. Samarth (82, 108b, 11x4) and Mayank Agarwal (83, 109b, 12x4, 1x6) scored some quick runs, but momentary lapses in concentration cost them, both out caught in the slip cordon.
Devdutt Padikkal (69, 121b, 8x4, 1x6) and Nikin Jose (62, 100b, 12x4) put on 118 runs for the third wicket. Jose shaded his senior colleague, smacking a dozen boundaries, of which the most eye-catching ones were those hit inside-out.
The visitors didn’t help themselves with a shoddy performance on the field. Aditya Tare missed a stumping off Padikkal when he was on 39; Manish was let off twice, and Shreyas was dropped by Akhil Singh Rawat in the slips when on 68.
Uttarakhand, in all probability, will pay with the match.