Punjab’s tail showed no sign of nerves and produced useful runs while host Karnataka let go of a good opportunity to bowl out the visitor in the Ranji Trophy Super League quarterfinal that commenced at the Gangothri Glades Ground here on Thursday.
Middle-order batsman Vishwas Bhalla (62 n.o., 142b, 8x4) led the rearguard action and along with last man Harmeet Singh (11 n.o.) added an unfinished 41-run partnership from 63 deliveries to help Punjab end day one at 292 for nine in 90 overs.
Earlier, after Karnataka skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to field, Punjab started sedately before Abhimanyu Mithun in a eight-over spell marked by appreciable bounce and swing, dismissed Sunny Sohal and Ravi Inder Singh (30) to reduce the visitor to 50 for two in 13.1 overs.
Then pace spearhead R. Vinay Kumar joined the act, forcing Mayank Sidana (37) to flick straight to Robin Uthappa.
The Punjab innings stabilised briefly as Uday Kaul and skipper Pankaj Dharmani (29) added 54 runs for the fourth wicket. However, Dharmani nibbled at Vinay as Manish Pandey was caught at second slip.
The Vinay-Pandey combine also accounted for Taruwar Kohli.
Meanwhile, Uday (68) batted confidently and essayed pleasing drives besides stitching a 49-run alliance with Bhalla for the sixth wicket.
Good spell by Joshi
Left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi (four for 62), returning for his fourth spell from the Hunsur Road End, snuffed out the Punjab resistance as he prised out Uday, Rahul Sharma and Manpreet Goni to put Karnataka back into the game.
The tail, however, wagged as Bhalla, dropped twice, capitalised on the opportunity and added 36 runs for the ninth wicket with L. Ablish (26) before finding another ally in Harmeet.
Karnataka’s fielding left much to be desired as two catches were dropped in the first over of the second new ball bowled by Vinay.
The host has to bowl out Punjab early on Friday morning and post a good first innings total to drive home the advantage.
Punjab — Ist innings: S. Sohal c Uthappa b Mithun 12, R. Inder Singh c Satish b Mithun 30, M. Sidhana c Uthappa b Vinay 37, Uday Kaul c Dravid b Joshi 68, P. Dharmani c Pandey b Vinay 29, T. Kohli c Pandey b Vinay 5, V. Bhalla (not out) 62, R. Sharma c Gowtham b Joshi 0, M. Gony b Joshi 0, L. Ablish b Joshi 26, H. Singh (not out) 11, Extras (b-1, lb-6, nb-5): 12; Total (for nine wkts. in 90 overs) 292.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-50, 3-96, 4-150, 5-160, 6-209, 7-211, 8-215, 9-251.
Karnataka bowling: Vinay 22-4-92-3, Mithun 18-5-53-2, Arvind 22-2-70-0, Joshi 25-8-62-4, Verma 3-0-8-0.