For over two sessions on the fourth and final day of the Elite Group C Ranji Trophy match between Karnataka and Railways, it appeared the match was heading towards a tame draw with the former having an extended batting session in the middle in its second innings.
Karnataka scored slowly in the morning session which meant it had to take more time in the second session to get to its desired target of having a lead of more than 250.
By the time Manish Pandey decided to end the team’s second innings, his side had a lead of 278 runs with just 41 overs left in the day.
It appeared there was not enough time to force a result but after tea, the Karnataka bowlers gave their team a small belief picking up three quick wickets for just four runs.
Pacer Vyshak sent Mrunal Devhdar’s stumps for a walk and accounted for Arindam Ghosh, caught behind. At the other end, K. Gowtham had Shivam Choudhary caught behind as Railways slumped from 18 for no loss to 26 for three.
But the two left-handers, Vivek Singh and Mohammad Saif, both of whom scored half-centuries in the first innings, helped steady the ship with a 40-run stand for the fourth wicket against some accurate bowling from pacers and spinners.
By the time Vivek was caught driving off-spinner R. Samarth to covers, there were only nine overs left for the day at which point the teams decided to call it off.
Earlier, Samarth made a composed 83 (170b, 8x4) to help Karnataka to 223 for nine in its second innings after resuming at 63 for one.
Overnight batter Mayank Agarwal got to his half-century before he was dismissed at long-off thanks to a brilliant catch by substitute fielder Akshat Pandey on the ropes when he did the jump-back routine to send the India opener back to the pavilion.
Samarth at the other end was lucky initially with a few of his edges going to the third man fence but also played some delightful cuts and leg-glances to the fence.
At the other end, K.V. Siddharth made a valuable 39 and helped accelerate the pace with a few boundaries through mid-wicket before he was dismissed.
The scoreboard: Karnataka (1st innings): 481
Railways (1st innings): 426
Karnataka (2nd innings): Mayank Agarwal c sub b Avinash 56, Devdutt Padikkal b Mishra 4, R Samarth c Vivek b Karn 83, K.V. Siddharth c Karn b Yuvraj 39, Manish Pandey not out 24, K Gowtham c Devdhar b Karn 8, S Sharath c Upendra b Mishra 0, Shreyas Gopal c Shivam b Amit 8, V Vyshak c Upendra b Karn 0, Vidyadhar Patil c Shivam b Mishra 0,
Extras (nb-1): 1
Total (declared for nine wickets in 63.2 overs): 223
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-116, 3-178, 4-192, 5-210, 6-211, 7-219, 8-222, 9-223
Railways bowling: Mishra 21.2-4-58-4, Yuvraj 17-0-61-1, Shivam 3-0-19-0, Avinash 14-1-38-1.
Railways (2nd innings): Mrunal Devdhar b Vyshak 20, Vivek Singh c Shreyas b Samart 18, Shivam Choudhary c Siddharth b Gowtham 2, Arindam Ghosh c Sharath b Vyshak 0, Mohammad Saif not out 27, Upendra Yadav not out 2
Total (for four wickets in 33 overs): 69
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-25, 3-26, 4-66
Bowling: More 2-0-13-0, Vidyadhar 6-4-8-0, Vyshak 8-2-16-1, Gowtham 13-4-23-1, Samarth 3-1-9-0, Samarth 1-1-0-1.
Match drawn. Karnataka took the first-innings lead.
Points: Karnataka 3(3); Railways 1(1).