Karnataka cannot thank Vinay Kumar enough. On an increasingly dreary afternoon on Monday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, when Odisha hadn’t lost a wicket in two hours, had run up a lead close to 200, and looked in little discomfort against any of the other bowlers, the captain produced a resolutely excellent display of seam bowling to haul his side’s chestnuts out of the fire.
Vinay removed both of Biplab Samantray and Subhrajit Sahu — after the pair had stitched a sixth-wicket stand of 100 — in a decisive spell of 3-2-6-2 before tea. He claimed two more to finish with splendid figures of 21-6-58-7, the second-best effort of his first-class career.
Odisha was dismissed for 255, leaving the host 245 to score in the fourth innings for victory in this Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy tie.
Karnataka was 43 for one at stumps on the third evening: a fair chance of taking the six points on Tuesday.
Odisha lost Gobinda Poddar and Alok Sahoo 10 overs into the morning. The captain Natraj Behera, demoted to five for “strategic reasons”, hung around briefly before falling for 17.
At 105 for five, a lead of 94, the visitor looked in trouble. The allrounder Samantray (86), however, turned things around. Sahu (48) and he steered their side through to lunch without damage, and once settled, moved the score along rapidly, the boundaries arriving at regular intervals.
No sooner had they celebrated their century partnership, though, than Vinay brought himself on for a fifth spell. The 28-year-old dislodged Samantray with a peach of an outswinger, and inside the next hour scalped Sahu, Deepak Behera and Alok Mangaraj.
Should Karnataka triumph on the final day, its captain will have more than one reason to be proud.
Odisha — 1st innings: 202.
Karnataka — 1st innings: 213.
Odisha — 2nd innings: Sandip Mulia b Vinay 0, Alok Sahoo lbw Binny 37, Niranjan Behera b Vinay 4, Gobinda Poddar b Vinay 16, Natraj Behera b Akshay 17, Biplab Samantray c Pandey b Vinay 86, Subhrajit Sahu lbw b Vinay 48, Deepak Behera c Gautam b Vinay 7, Lagnajit Samal (not out) 20, Basant Mohanty c Gautam b Vinay 5, Alok Mangaraj b Akshay 0, Extras (b-4, lb-6, nb-5): 15; Total (in 74 overs): 255.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-8, 3-54, 4-64, 5-105, 6-205, 7-216, 8-242, 9-252.
Karnataka bowling: R. Vinay Kumar 21-6-58-7, S.L. Akshay 13-1-43-2, H.S. Sharath 17-1-70-0, K.P. Appanna 6-0-23-0, Amit Verma 1-0-4-0, S. Binny 14-5-39-1, R. Uthappa 2-0-8-0.
Karnataka — 2nd innings: K.B. Pawan c Sahu b Mangaraj 12, Robin Uthappa (batting) 25, Ganesh Satish (batting) 5, Extras (lb-1): 1; Total (for one wkt. in 19 overs): 43.
Fall of wicket: 1-27.
Odisha bowling: B. Mohanty 6-1-11-0, A. Mangaraj 7-2-19-1, B. Samantray 4-1-10-0, D. Behera 2-1-2-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy