Ranji Trophy: Vinay Kumar rearguard puts Karnataka in command

Vinay, who came in at seven-down, struck an unbeaten 94 as Karnataka dominated the second day's play against Chhatisgarh.

Vinay Kumar was left agonisingly short of his third first-class century when last man Ronit More was castled by an inswinger from Vishal Singh.   -  Sampath Kumar G P

A defiant unbeaten 94 from Vinay Kumar put Karnataka in the driver’s seat on the second day of its Ranji Trophy match against Chhattisgarh at Alur grounds here on Monday.

Vinay, who came in at seven-down, showed that he is more than capable with the bat, prolonging Karnataka innings and Chhattisgarh’s misery.

He was left agonisingly short of his third first-class century when last man Ronit More was castled by an inswinger from Vishal Singh.

READ| As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 8, Day 2

A thoroughly disappointed Vinay threw his head back, but composed himself enough to pat More on the back as they returned to the pavilion.

Pankaj makes merry

Chhattisgarh fast bowler Pankaj Rao was brilliant once again, adding three wickets to his overnight tally. Pankaj removed D. Nischal on the very first ball of the day when he got an outswinger to beat the edge and hit the stumps.

The 29-year-old then accounted for all-rounders Shreyas Gopal (15) and K. Gowtham (15) to register figures of seven for 82 - his best in first-class cricket. Pankaj did exceptionally well to extract movement, both ways, from a good length.

Vinay shines with the bat

In reply, Chhattisgarh moved to 121 for three, 297 runs behind Karnataka’s total of 418.

Earlier, the visitor started proceedings by picking up four wickets in the first nine overs of the day. Karnataka, in a spot of bother at 297 for eight, was rescued by Vinay. The final two wickets yielded a crucial 121 runs, with Vinay farming the strike in the company of A. Mithun (17) and More (10).

Vinay, recently relieved of captaincy duties, used the crease to counter the bowlers. He walked down to the pacers to smother the swing and made room to pick the gaps in the cover and long-off regions.

The 34-year-old also ran well between the wickets, frustrating the opposition no end. The Chhattisgarh fielders were sloppy, missing a couple of run-out chances.

Calculated risks

“Our target, which we discussed before the start of play, was to cross 400. We achieved that. They used a defensive field when I was on strike, so I had to take calculated risks to get the runs," Vinay said adding, “I’m not worried about missing my hundred. More got out to a superb ball. It happens.”

Mithun’s opening burst then reduced Chhattisgarh to 25 for three. A steady unbroken 96-run fourth-wicket stand between Amandeep Khare (43 batting, 80b, 5x4) and skipper Harpreet Singh (53 batting, 108b, 8x4) prevented any further damage.

Group A: At Bengaluru: Karnataka 418 in 131.4 overs (D. Nischal 107, K.V. Siddharth 105, Manish Pandey 40, R. Vinay Kumar 90 n.o., Pankaj Rao seven for 82) vs Chhattisgarh 121 for three in 38 overs (Amandeep Khare 43 batting, Harpreet Singh Bhatia 53 batting).

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