Aided by five half-centuries and a knock of 46, Karnataka scored 414 in its first innings and tightened the noose around Delhi on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Eden Gardens here on Friday. The total ensured a sizeable lead of 324 runs.
Delhi, which was all out for just 90 in its first essay, has the onerous task of batting out two full days to avoid an outright defeat.
After bowling a marathon 173 overs in 12 hours against Maharashtra in the previous round, Delhi bowlers delivered another 141.3 overs against Karnataka in about 10 hours. Karnataka, resuming at 131 for three, carried on clinically to bat through the whole day and give itself the best chance of securing full points.
On a pitch which got slower and kept low, Karnataka batsmen cut out their flamboyance, blocked effectively and looked to score on the off-side to pile on Delhi’s agony.
Three more batsmen - Karun Nair, Kaunain Abbas and C.M. Gautam - got to their half-centuries and Shreyas Gopal was four shy of his 50 as Karnataka maintained a good run-rate while achieving its dual target of consuming five sessions and building a big lead.
Pugnacious lower order
After the fall of nightwatchman Abhimanyu Mithun on the ninth ball of the day to Ishant Sharma, Nair and Abbas put on a hard-working 89-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Nair executed some good-looking cuts and drives, overall hitting five fours and two sixes. One of the sixes over long-off against Manan Sharma brought up his 13th half-century. Abbas, playing his second match, was a picture of confidence and impressed in his third consecutive 50 containing six boundaries.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Gautam (63 not out, 9x4) was the pillar of strength in the lower order. Gautam’s 77-run eighth-wicket stand with Shreyas Gopal (46, studded 8x4) spoke of Karnataka’s depth in batting.
“It is an uneven pitch. It is tough to get runs here. We had to really apply ourselves…Our target was to bat for five sessions and we are happy to have posted a target of 324. If we bowl in the right areas, we can get them out for 200-250,” said Gautam.
Delhi bowlers toiled hard. Ishant bowled a better line. Left-arm spinner Varun Sood, who used the crease well to display his variations and claim the wickets of Nair and Abbas, was the pick of the bowlers with figures of four for 80.
Delhi - 1st innings: 90
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 c&b Sood 53, Abhimanyu Mithun c Pant b Ishant 12, Kaunain Abbas lbw b Sood 52, Stuart Binny c&b Tokas 32, C.M. Gautam (not out) 63, Shreyas Gopal b Manan 46, K. Gowtham b Sood 8, Sreenath Aravind lbw b Sood 14, Extras (b-10, lb-7, nb-3) 20, Total (in 141.3 overs) 414
Fall of wickets: 1-87, 2-114, 3-124, 4-136, 5-225, 6-258, 7-290, 8-367, 9-396
Delhi bowling: Ishant Sharma 21-5-63-1, Pawan Suyal 23-6-71-1, Manan Sharma 38-6-102-1, Vikas Tokas 29-6-81-3, Varun Sood 30.3-4-80-4.
Other matches (Group B):
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