Punjab’s disciplined bowling attack left Karnataka in a spot of bother in the Ranji Trophy Super League quarterfinal in progress at the Gangothri Glades Ground here on Friday.
At close on the second day, Karnataka scored 265 for six in 77 overs with middle-order batsman Manish Pandey (76 n.o, 107b, 8x4, 1x6) and southpaw Sunil Joshi (13 n.o.) battling to wrest the initiative before bad light stopped play. Karnataka needs 36 runs to gain the critical first innings lead.
Earlier in the morning, Karnataka bowled out Punjab for 300 in 92.4 overs. In reply, Karnataka made a shaky start as local boy K.B. Pawan fell to seamer Harmeet Singh. Robin Uthappa (91, 118b, 14x4, 1x6) and Ganesh Satish (29) then steadied the innings with a 61-run second-wicket partnership.
Satish succumbed to L. Ablish but Uthappa impressed with his pleasing drives and along with skipper Rahul Dravid, grew in confidence.
Post lunch, Uthappa lofted Rahul Sharma for a big six and scored 43 runs in 44 balls. He, however, chipped one straight back to Rahul Sharma after striking the leg-spinner for two successive boundaries. Karnataka soon wobbled as indiscreet shots spelt doom with Dravid (36, 72b, 5x4) playing on to his wicket off Ablish (two for 73), who bowled a consistent line, while Amit Verma nicked Manpreet Gony.
At 188 for five, Karnataka found a saviour in its highest run-getter this season — Pandey. The youngster executed rasping drives and added 41 runs for the sixth wicket with C.M. Gowtham and later through an unfinished 48-run alliance with Joshi, lent hope for the host.
Punjab — 1st innings: S. Sohal c Uthappa b Mithun 12, R. Inder Singh c Satish b Mithun 30, M. Sidana c Uthappa b Vinay Kumar 37, Uday Kaul c Dravid b Sunil Joshi 68, P. Dharmani c Pandey b Vinay 29, T. Kohli c Pandey b Vinay 5, V. Bhalla (not out) 70, R. Sharma c Gowtham b Joshi 0, M. Gony b Joshi 0, L. Ablish b Joshi 26, H. Singh b S. Arvind 11, Extras (b-1, lb-6, nb-5): 12; Total (in 92.4 overs): 300.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-50, 3-96, 4-150, 5-160, 6-209, 7-211, 8-215, 9-251.
Karnataka bowling: Vinay 23-4-100-3, Mithun 18-5-53-2, Arvind 23.4-3-70-1, Joshi 25-8-62-4, Verma 3-0-8-0.
Karnataka — 1st innings: R. Uthappa c & b Rahul Sharma 91, K.B. Pawan lbw b Harmeet 1, G. Satish c Kaul b Ablish 29, R. Dravid b Ablish 36, M. Pandey (batting) 76, Amit Verma c Kaul b Gony 1, C.M. Gowtham c Kaul b Kohli 11, Sunil Joshi (batting) 13, Extras (lb-5, nb-2) 7; Total (for six wkts. in 77 overs): 265.
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-72, 3-146, 4-170, 5-188, 6-217.
Punjab bowling: Ablish 22-3-73-2, Harmeet 17-4, 62-1, Gony 18-5-35-1, Rahul Sharma 16-3-72-1, Kohli 4-0-18-1.