Stuart Binny played no part for Karnataka in the knock-out stages of the Ranji Trophy, away as he was on national duty in New Zealand. As if to compensate, on Monday he threw himself with gusto into the pursuit of another domestic trophy, biffing a hundred to steadily deflate an uninspired Rest of India.
Binny’s breezy, unbeaten 115 (107b, 13x4, 3x6), coupled with sizeable contributions from Karun Nair and Ganesh Satish, put Karnataka in complete command of the Irani Cup.
At the close of play on the second day at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here, the home side was 390 for five, ahead by a pretty 189 runs.
Binny’s arrival in the afternoon, at the fall of Ganesh’s wicket, was greeted with lusty cheers from the gathered crowd, in anticipation of the entertainment he is known to provide. The 29-year-old did not disappoint, before long stepping out to loft Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh over the ropes. Perhaps, emboldened by this assault, Karun joined in the fun at the other end, raising his half-century before striking Harbhajan for three boundaries — all reaching different parts of the ground — in an over.
The pair scored at better than six an over, pummelling Rest’s bowlers either side of tea. Binny closed in on his eighth first-class century hooking Anureet Singh beyond the fine-leg boundary; he eventually got there off 82 balls, to thrilled applause from his teammates. With the national selectors set to arrive here shortly to pick the team for the Asia Cup and the World T20, it is not a knock that will go unnoticed.
Karun fell for 92 in unfortunate fashion, shouldering arms to a delivery from Pankaj Singh that ricocheted onto the stumps off the bat. The fifth-wicket alliance had yielded 187 runs, in only 178 balls.
In the morning, K.L. Rahul added only seven runs to his overnight score before he was bowled by Anureet off one that stayed low. Ganesh, meanwhile, set off with a flurry of boundaries, all struck with minimum effort. Some were defensive pushes in front; many were steered through gully with ease. He was dismissed by Harbhajan — who had waited 45 overs before bringing himself on — for 84.
“Today, I played close to the body and with soft hands,” he said later. When told he seemed displeased to have been given out caught behind, Ganesh merely offered a wry smile. His dismissal, however, did nothing to throttle Karnataka’s momentum.
“Our seamers tried their best but it didn’t happen for us,” Harbhajan said afterwards. “But Binny batted really well.”
Rest of India — 1st innings: 201.
Karnataka — 1st innings: Robin Uthappa c Jadhav b Dinda 0, K.L. Rahul b Anureet 35, Ganesh Satish c Jadhav b Harbhajan 84, Manish Pandey c Karthik b Pankaj 36, Karun Nair b Pankaj 92, Stuart Binny (batting) 115, C.M. Gautam (batting) 6; Extras (b-16, lb-2, nb-4): 22; Total (for five wkts. in 98 overs): 390.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Uthappa), 2-75 (Rahul), 3-136 (Pandey), 4-188 (Ganesh), 5-375 (Karun).
Rest bowling: Ashoke Dinda 23-5-93-1, Pankaj Singh 23-6-78-2, Anureet Singh 21-5-78-1, Amit Mishra 14-2-56-0, Harbhajan Singh 14-2-56-1, Baba Aparajith 3-1-11-0.