Ranji Trophy: Vinay Kumar's fiver restricts Maharashtra

This was a third successive time that the batsmen let Maharashtra down. But with conditions conducive for seam bowling, the team can hope to bounce back.

Karnataka's Vinay Kumar in action against Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy match in Mohali.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Karnataka claimed the Day One honours with skipper Vinay Kumar’s five for 46 keeping Maharashtra in check in their final Ranji Trophy league match here.

Put in, Maharashtra succumbed to 163 in nippy conditions but soon rattled Karnataka early. But the former champion steadily moved to 67 for one at stumps.

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This was a third successive time that the batsmen let Maharashtra down. But with conditions conducive for seam bowling, the team can hope to bounce back.

Looking at the pitch and the conditions, Karnataka went for a pace-heavy attack and in all, made four changes. An injured Mayank Agarwal, a “rested” Robin Uthappa, spinners Shreyas Iyer and Abrar Kazi made way for debutants Pavan Deshpande and Arjun Hoysala, along with pacers A. Mithun and S. Arvind.

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However, Mithun was troubled by back spasms and left the field after bowling just two deliveries. In the afternoon, Manish Pandey left for Mumbai after being asked to join the Indian team ahead of the fourth Test against England.

In spite of being unable of use the services of a fast bowler and key batsman, Karnataka finished the day on a happier note than its rival.

Showing the way was Vinay, who produced a spell reminiscent of his five for 27 that proved instrumental in ending Punjab’s campaign in the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy in January 2014 at this venue.

The all-rounder made the inroads after Stuart Binny provided the breakthrough by sending back a well-set opener and skipper Swapnil Gugale, caught behind. Binny was back to get rid of the other opener Rohit Motwani who displayed the patience needed on this pitch. Motwani’s was the seventh wicket to fall after the batsman had scored 32 off 120 deliveries. In fact, at one stage, he scored just three runs in an hour!

But the day belonged to Vinay who reaped the harvest for his disciplined bowling. His wicket-to-wicket line and the occasional away-going deliveries proved too much to handle for the batsmen.

Vinay uprooted the stumps of Naushad Shaikh and danger-man Kedar Jadhav after the batsmen failed to read the swing. Chiragh Khurana departed after an offering to the slip-cordon, Anupam Sanklecha misread the line to be out leg-before and last-man Pradeep Dadhe edged one to the keeper.

If Maharashtra’s lower-order could lift the team from 97 for six to the eventual 163, small contributions from Sanklecha, Mohsin Sayyad and Dadhe made it possible.