Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Mithun, Suchith lead Karnataka's charge against Vidarbha

Karnataka restricted defending champion Vidarbha to 245 for eight on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie.

M. Prasidh Krishna of Karnataka celebrates after dismissing Vidarbha batsman Ganesh Satish.   -  PTI

Abhimanyu Mithun and J. Suchith are used to preying the opposition batsmen together while representing the Vultures Cricket Club in the KSCA League.

On Monday, the pace bowler and the left-arm spinner combined at a higher level to help Karnataka restrict defending champion Vidarbha to 245 for eight on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie.

In fact, had it not been for Shreekant Wagh and Lalit Yadav's unbroken 44-run partnership for the ninth wicket, Karnakata could well have taken a firm grip on the proceedings at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium.

As it Happened

Still, the tail's resistance didn't overshadow the Karnataka duo's commendable effort on a slightly unpredictable pitch.

Vidarbha opted to bat first and the opening combo of captain Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy started on a confident note.

While Sanjay drove R. Vinay Kumar straight down the pitch, Fazal played a stylish square cut – a trademark stroke for most top-order left-handed batsmen like him – off Mithun.

While Vinay, who was in the morning presented with a t-shirt autographed by all the members of the squad to mark his 100th Ranji game, made way for youngster M. Prasidh Krishna, Mithun started bending his shoulder more and it paid dividends in the 10th over.

He got one to rise sharply from just short of good length and Sanjay could only nick it to R. Samarth at second slip.

In his next over, he drew Fazal forward with one that pitched in the perfect channel and Fazal again brought Samarth into play.

Had umpire not declined a real close lbw shout against Ganesh Satish in Mithun's next over, his opening spell would have read even more impressive than the eventual 7-1-18-2 and drew more applause from national selector Jatin Paranjape, who was keeping a close watch on the action.

Ganesh and old warhorse Wasim Jaffer then avoided second Vidarbha collapse in as many weeks with a 85-run partnership.

With the pitch offering little assistance, Karnataka persisted with a wide-of-off-stump bowling ploy and Stuart Binny finally succeeded in Jaffer playing on to the stump chasing a wide one.

The first hour of the last session changed the complexion of the game, with Suchith leading the mini-collapse.

With the pitch offering assistance to spinners away from stumps, Suchith made full use of it. In a spell that read 9-4-15-3, Suchith forced the set duo of Satish and Akshay Wadkar along with all-rounder Aditya Sarvate to nick behind the stumps.

Danger man Apoorv Wankhade then fell into the trap set by Vinay and Mithun returned to dismiss big-hitter Darshan Nalkande.

At 201 for eight, having earned five for 35 in the last session, Karnataka was on top before Wagh and Yadav brought the home team back in the game.

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