K.C. Vijaya Kumar
Its hopes rest on Dravid as the other batsmen fail to convert starts
Bangalore: It could have been a near-perfect Sunday for Karnataka. However its young batsmen laid the foundation but failed to build on and at close on day one of the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Uttar Pradesh here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Karnataka skipper Rahul Dravid (37 n.o.) was in his familiar position of lending hope.
Karnataka scored 255 for four in 95 overs after Dravid opted to bat on winning the toss and found partial vindication in the assuredness of Robin Uthappa (32), K.B. Pawan (52, 167b, 7x4), Ganesh Satish (49) and Manish Pandey (66, 107b, 11x4). The start was steady and Uthappa relished the deliveries homing into his pads as R.P. Singh and Praveen Kumar briefly erred in direction. Even the sedate Pawan, after a few nicks off R.P. Singh and Praveen Kumar fortuitously falling short of the slip cordon, flicked and drove with precision.
Uthappa, yet to register a Ranji century this season, seemed in fine fettle but failed to resist the sweep against left-arm spinner Praveen Gupta. At 42 for one, Satish and Pawan continued undeterred and displayed poise during their 95-run second-wicket partnership.
Satish used his feet to the spinners and seemed set for the long haul when he became one among R.P. Singh’s twin-strikes post-lunch.
Peach of a delivery
R.P. Singh had Pawan nibbling at one that seamed away and in the same over, he squared up Satish with a peach of a delivery as wicket-keeper Amir Khan relished the two catches. At 138 for three, Karnataka regained its breath thanks to Dravid’s solidity and Pandey’s flair while the duo constructed their 108-run fourth-wicket partnership.
Dravid evaded R.P. Singh’s bouncers, offered a straight bat and did not hesitate to drive and cut. At the other end, Pandey refused to be bogged down and wrung three fours out of a Praveen Gupta over.
A pulled four off Parvinder Singh brought up his fifty that kept the few fans in good cheer until he fatally drove at Praveen Kumar’s delivery way outside the off-stump.
Karnataka needs to tide past Monday’s morning session and rustle up the runs on a pitch with its odd streak of low bounce while Mohammad Kaif’s men will hope that the new-ball, just five overs old, and the nip in the winter air will aid the R.P. Singh-Praveen Kumar combine.
Karnataka — 1st innings: R. Uthappa lbw b Praveen Gupta 32, K.B. Pawan c Amir Khan b R.P. Singh 52, G. Satish c Amir b R.P. Singh 49, R. Dravid (batting) 37, M. Pandey c Kaif b Praveen Kumar 66, Vinay Kumar (batting) 7. Extras (b-6, lb-3, w-3): 12. Total (for four wkts. in 95 overs): 255.
Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-137, 3-138, 4-246.
Uttar Pradesh bowling: R.P. Singh 18-3-53-2, Praveen Kumar 16-7-40-1, Bhuvneshwar 13-1-36-0, Praveen Gupta 12-4-34-1, Piyush Chawla 25-7-44-0, Shivakant Shukla 5-1-15-0, Parvinder Singh 6-1-24-0.