Ranji Trophy: Uthappa, Nair script Karnataka's dominance

Batsmen Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair scored centuries in an unbeaten partnership of 219 runs to help Karnataka secure a dominant position against Assam on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy Group B tie in Mumbai.

Karun Nair's strike rate was marginally higher than Robin Uthappa as the two ended the day having scored an unbeaten 108 each.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Assam's first-innings century-maker Amit Verma seems to have passed the run-feast baton on to the Karnataka batsmen.

Seasoned Robin Uthappa and Karnataka's stand-in captain Karun Nair made full use of the chances offered by the Assam fielders to pile on hundreds on Day Two in the Ranji Trophy Group B tie at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla Complex facility. It helped Karnataka snatch the advantage in the contest.

>Scorecard

At stumps, Karnataka – after restricting Assam to 325 in the morning with Verma running out of partners – was comfortably placed at 223 for two. If the unbeaten pair sees off the second new ball, due in 11 overs, on a wicket that still offers decent carry for pacers, then it would be interesting to see if Karnataka presses for an outright victory to mark the festivities.

> Read: Uthappa credits Amre for return to form

The conditions were not at all threatening for Uthappa and Nair. But the situation in which they scored hundreds was remarkable. Pacerts Arup Das and Krishna Das had removed openers Mayank Agarwal and R. Samarth in the first three overs. Had wicket-keeper K. B. Arun Karthick latched on to a sharp chance down the leg side off the second ball Nair faced, Karnataka would have been three down with nothing much on the board.

But Nair survived, and thereafter, looked in little trouble. Uthappa played cautiously at the start but soon started playing his trademark drives. All four of his scoring strokes before lunch were boundaries, with a straight punch off Krishna Das the highlight among them.

On the first ball after lunch, Uthappa had a slice of luck. He nicked one from Abu Nechim Ahmed that pitched in the off-stump channel to Karthick, but the umpire consulted the television umpire to check if Ahmed had overstepped. The bowler didn’t have any part of his foot behind the crease. Uthappa, then, concentrated harder and preferred to go after the loose balls bowled by the spinners.

Nair survived another chance when he was dropped by Assam captain Gokul Sharma off leggie Amit Verma on 85, before he was outdone by Uthappa in the race for the hundred. While Uthappa steered Ahmed for his twelfth four to celebrate his 21st first-class century, Nair soon joined him in a similar fashion – a late cut off Verma that sped for a four.

Other scores (Group A):

>Baroda v Punjab

>Bengal v Railways

>Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh

Scores (Group B):

>Assam v Karnataka

>Delhi v Odisha

>Jharkhand v Vidarbha

>Rajasthan v Maharashtra

Scores (Group C):

>Andhra v Haryana

>Chhattisgarh v Kerala

>Goa v Tripura

>Himachal v Hyderabad

>Services v Jammu & Kashmir