Shreyas Gopal and the lower-order held firm to push Karnataka past Uttar Pradesh’s first innings total on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy match at the KSCA Stadium here on Thursday.
Shreyas (58, 182b, 6x4) and J. Suchith (28, 120b, 2x4) took Karnataka to within two runs of Uttar Pradesh’s score, before Abhimanyu Mithun came in and blasted a 48-ball 34 to give the side a 40-run innings lead.
Uttar Pradesh then finished the day on 29 for the loss of one wicket.
The home side was in a spot of bother at 222 for seven - a result of horrific shot selection from B.R. Sharath and David Mathias. Sharath danced down the track to left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and attempted a big heave, only to spoon a catch to mid-wicket.
Mathias - much like Sharath - did not get to the pitch of a length ball from Saurabh but went through with his shot anyway, resulting in a stumping. When patience was of the essence, the duo let the team down with dangerously ambitious strokeplay.
“Yes, it (big shots from Sharath and David) could have been avoided. When I came back for Lunch, they were really disappointed. It really hurt them. It’s early in their career, so they will definitely learn from it. They won’t make this mistake the next time,” vice-captain Shreyas said.
Shreyas and Suchith showed the necessary temperament to keep Karnataka afloat. Shreyas was strong driving down the ground, while Suchith proved to be an able foil.
The duo put on 57 runs for the eighth wicket, until Shreyas departed to a doubtful leg-before decision. Next man Mithun, in typically aggressive fashion, smacked a boundary to open his account and give Karnataka the lead.
Uttar Pradesh missed a trick by not fully utilising the second new ball. Captain Ankit Rajpoot, recovering from an injury, brought himself into the attack. His short run-up gentle seamers, however, were quite ineffective.
Left-arm pacer Mohit Jangra was used only sparingly, while part-time spinner Rinku Singh sent down a couple of innocuous overs.
With spinner Saurabh going great guns and the pace arsenal depleted, Uttar Pradesh would have been better off sticking with the new ball. Saurabh, teasing with flight and turn, eventually finished with an impressive six for 116.
Karnataka 321 ( Devdutt Padikkal 74, Shreyas Gopal 58, Abhimanyu Mithun 34 no, Saurabh Kumar 6/116) , Uttar Pradesh 281 & 29/1 (Madhav Kaushik 19 no, Almas Shaukat 6 no).
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