Karnataka tightened the screws steadily and casually to close in on a fifth Irani Cup victory here on Tuesday.
C.M. Gautam plundered a fluent hundred as the home side built up a mountainous lead of 405 before removing three Rest of India batsmen.Pankaj’s milestone
Only Pankaj Singh offered the visitor something to cheer about, finishing with six for 122 from his bustling, unflagging 35 overs. The effort took him to 300 first-class wickets — a milestone the 28-year-old hoped would keep his dream of playing for India alive.
At stumps on the third day at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Rest was 114 for three, needing a further 291 runs to avert an innings defeat.
The situation had threatened to turn worse when R. Vinay Kumar had dismissed the openers for 20 on the board. Gautam Gambhir nicked off to second slip, where Manish Pandey held a fine catch to his left before Jiwanjot Singh was out lbw.
But Kedar Jadhav and Baba Aparajith, who remained unbeaten on 42, added 71 runs. Jadhav fell a half hour from the close for 44, chipping Shreyas Gopal straight to mid-off.
In the morning, Stuart Binny was unable to build greatly on his overnight 115.
He was bowled by an in-ducker from Pankaj that slipped between bat and pad. Gautam, who this Ranji Trophy season could not reproduce the splendid form he showed last time, then set about scoring runs freely.
He swept the spinners confidently time after time, even unfurling two reverse-sweeps to move into the nineties.
The 27-year-old raised his tenth first-class hundred with a four through the covers, as Karnataka marched along swiftly, with useful contributions from Vinay and Abhimanyu Mithun.
At the other end, Pankaj had got rid of Shreyas Gopal for 16. Gautam himself fell for 122, pulling down Mandeep Singh’s throat at square-leg.
The curtains came down on the Karnataka innings when H.S. Sharath was bowled neck and crop, becoming Pankaj’s 300th first-class victim.
“Before the match started I knew I was six wickets short,” the strapping seam bowler said later, before honestly speaking of his disappointment at being ignored for national duty.
“Hopefully, somewhere these 300 wickets will count for something. It’s always in your mind that you don’t have results for your effort but you have to try and leave that out. I’ve had a long, hard journey. It will go on.”
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 b Pankaj 122, C.M. Gautam c Mandeep b Pankaj 122, R. Vinay Kumar c Karthik b Mishra 31, Shreyas Gopal c Karthik b Pankaj 16, Abhimanyu Mithun (not out) 34, H.S. Sharath b Pankaj 0; Extras (b-20, lb-9, nb-5): 34; Total (in 145 overs): 606.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Uthappa), 2-75 (Rahul), 3-136 (Pandey), 4-188 (Ganesh), 5-375 (Karun), 6-400 (Binny), 7-488 (Vinay), 8-545 (Shreyas), 9-606 (Gautam).
Rest bowling: Ashoke Dinda 31-5-138-1, Pankaj Singh 35-7-122-6, Anureet Singh 26-6-104-1, Amit Mishra 25-2-100-1, Harbhajan Singh 18-2-82-1, Baba Aparajith 7-1-24-0, Mandeep Singh 3-1-7-0.
Rest of India — 2nd innings: Jiwanjot Singh lbw b Vinay 7, Gautam Gambhir c Pandey b Vinay 9, Baba Aparajith (batting) 42, Kedar Jadhav c Pandey b Shreyas 44, Dinesh Karthik (batting) 9; Extras (b-1, lb-2): 3; Total (for three wickets in 38 overs): 114.
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Gambhir), 2-20 (Jiwanjot), 3-91 (Jadhav).
Karnataka bowling: R. Vinay Kumar 7-0-27-2, Abhimanyu Mithun 9-0-29-0, H.S. Sharath 7-5-6-0, Stuart Binny 6-1-13-0, Shreyas Gopal 7-0-31-1, Robin Uthappa 1-0-1-0, Karun Nair 1-0-4-0.