Left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind began his season with a bang by claiming four wickets as Karnataka wrapped up Delhi’s first innings for 90 to enjoy an upper hand in the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Replacing an unfit Vinay Kumar, Aravind led his bowling attack to bundle out Delhi for its lowest aggregate against Karnataka in the first session. Delhi’s previous lowest was 138 in Bangalore in 2005-06.
In reply, Karnataka made a cautious start to be at 131 for three and have a 41-run lead at the close of the opening day’s play.
A fiery Abhimanyu Mithun and a disciplined Aravind extracted fine movement from the surface featuring patches of green and posed troubles for Delhi batsmen. Mithun struck on the fourth ball of the morning by trapping Unmukt Chand lbw.
Gambhir perished in his attempt to pull Aravind. Karun Nair ran forward from mid-on to grab a top-edge in the sixth over.
Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana tried to consolidate. But the 30-run partnership which lasted for more than 10 overs ended when Mithun, coming around the wicket in his second spell, knocked off Rana’s off-stump.
Mithun watched in frustration as Rishabh Pant was dropped twice, on zero and five, in the latter’s bid to counter-attack. Pant, the triple century-maker in Delhi’s last match, replied by hitting Mithun for a four and a six immediately after the reprieves as he tackled aggression with aggression.
Karnataka again gained control when K. Gowtham celebrated his 28th birthday by trapping the solid Shorey in front. Bowling a tight line, he removed Pant, who was caught in the slips while trying to cut the off-spinner. Later, Gowtham had Manan Sharma as his third victim.
Aravind changed end to capture three wickets for five runs and shut out Delhi. Milind Kumar was deceived by the angle of a delivery from over the wicket. Varun Sood and Ishant Sharma were done in by the drift off the pitch.
Karnataka banked on patient half-centuries from Samarth (53, 107b, 8x4, 1x6) and Mayank Agarwal (56, 129b, 8x4) to have a fine start. The openers presented a tremendous exhibition of application to build an 87-run stand before falling to seamer Vikas Tokas’ persistent effort on the off-stump.
Pawan Suyal maintained a good line to scalp Robin Uthappa.
Ishant Sharma, recovering from illness, managed to bowl 10 overs in four spells.
Delhi - 1st innings: Unmukt Chand lbw b Mithun 0, Gautam Gambhir c Nair b Aravind 2, Dhruv Shorey lbw b Gowtham 24, Nitish Rana b Mithun 13, Rishabh Pant c Samarth b Gowtham 24, Milind Kumar c Samarth b Aravind 0, Manan Sharma c Samarth b Gowtham 15, Varun Sood lbw b Aravind 0, Ishant Sharma b Aravind 5, Vikas Tokas st Gautam b Shreyas 4, Pawan Suyal (not out) 0, Extras (lb-2, w-1) 3, Total (in 35.5 overs) 90
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-10, 3-40, 4-52, 5-65, 6-73, 7-73, 8-79, 9-90.
Karnataka bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 8-2-29-2, Sreenath Aravind 11-7-12-4, Stuart Binny 6-2-21-0, K. Gowtham 9-3-26-3, Shreyas Gopal 1.5-1-0-1
Karnataka -- 1st innings: R. Samarth c Pant b Tokas 53, Mayank Agarwal c Unmukt b Tokas 56, Robin Uthappa c Unmukt b Suyal 5, Karun Nair (batting) 3, Abhimanyu Mithun (batting) 7, Extras (lb-5, nb-2) 7, Total (for three wickets in 52 overs) 131.
Fall of wickets: 1-87, 2-114, 3-124.
Delhi bowling: Ishant Sharma 10-3-34-0, Pawan Suyal 12-4-27-1, Manan Sharma 13-2-25-0, Vikas Tokas 15-4-35-2, Varun Sood 2-0-5-0.
Toss: Karnataka, chose to field.