Ranji Trophy: R. Samarth, Devdutt Padikkal help Karnataka wriggle out with a draw

Half-centuries from Samarth and Padikkal push their team to safety on the final day; Saurashtra walks away with three points.

R. Samarth scored two half-centuries in the contest.   -  Sudhakara Jain (File Photo)

Karnataka fought hard to force a draw against Saurashtra in their Ranji Trophy encounter, at Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground here on Tuesday.

Patient knocks from R. Samarth (74, 159b), Devdutt Padikkal (53 n.o., 133b) and Rohan Kadam (42, 132b) pushed Karnataka to safety. The players shook hands and agreed to a draw with Karnataka on 220 for four, one hour before the scheduled close of play. Saurashtra recorded three points on the basis of gaining the first-innings lead, while Karnataka settled for one point.

Hemmed in

Saurashtra, needing 10 wickets on the final day to claim an outright victory, piled the pressure on the visitor. Left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat and the spin duo of Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Kamlesh Makwana kept a tight off-stump line, and employed as many as five close-in catchers. The Karnataka batsmen, however, held firm.

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Openers Kadam and Samarth put on 96 runs to see off the morning threat. Kadam fell to Makwana just before lunch, while Samarth registered his second fifty of the match. Samarth was bowled by a beauty from Unadkat, who got one to tail in sharply.

Resolute Padikkal

Jadeja scalped K. V. Siddharth (19) and Pavan Deshpande (12) in the space of six overs to raise the home team’s hopes, but the young Padikkal would not be dislodged. Padikkal, dismissed for a golden duck in the first essay, smartly curtailed his natural attacking instincts.

The elegant southpaw, in the company of captain Shreyas Gopal (13 n.o., 55b), ensured that Karnataka walked away with pride.

It was surprising to see Saurashtra offer a draw when a good 17 overs of play remained. The odds of recording a win might have been low, but it was worth a throw of the dice.

Good pitch

Padikkal and Gopal were only too happy to accept the offer of a stalemate.

“The way we batted in the first innings was disappointing, so it was crucial for us to bat well in the second innings and get one point. The pitch stayed the same right through the match. There was a bit of turn and help for the bowlers — as is the case on any final day pitch — but apart from that, there was nothing difficult,” Padikkal, 19, said.

Karnataka (17 points from five matches) next takes on Railways in Delhi on January 27, while Saurashtra (16 points from four matches) faces Madhya Pradesh on January 19.

The scores
  • Saurashtra (1st innings): 581 for 7 decl.
  • Karnataka (1st innings): 171.
  • Karnataka (2nd innings, overnight 30/0): Rohan Kadam c Desai b Makwana 42, R. Samarth b Unadkat 74, Devdutt Padikkal (not out) 53, K. V. Siddharth c Chauhan (sub) b Jadeja 19, Pavan Deshpande c Chauhan (sub) b Jadeja 12, Shreyas Gopal (not out) 13, Extras (b-5, lb-2): 7. Total (for 4 wkts. in 89 overs): 220.
  • Fall of wickets: 1-96, 2-120, 3-142, 4-168.
  • Saurashtra bowling: Unadkat 18-5-53-1, Jani 6-5-6-0, Jadeja 34-9-97-2, Makwana 22-9-32-1, Jivrajani 9-2-25-0.