With action-filled third day, Ranji Trophy at its dramatic best

Dinesh Karthik’s century was that of patience, calculated aggression, and heart.

Dinesh Karthik’s century was that of patience, calculated aggression, and heart.   | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan


TN fights back after conceding the lead against Karnataka

What a dramatic turn of events! This was Ranji Trophy at its combative best. A day of fortune swings and twists, skill and guts. At stake was pride.

The little Dinesh Karthik’s hundred of patience, calculated aggression, and heart, off-spinner K. Gowtham’s six-wicket haul of control, turn and bounce, and Tamil Nadu’s stirring fightback after conceding the lead... they were all there on an action-filled third day.

Dismissing Tamil Nadu for 307 and gaining a 29-run lead at the quaint NPR ground, Karnataka, stung by the pace-spin duo of K. Vignesh and R. Ashwin, was 89 for five at stumps, an overall lead of 118.

Contest wide open

The fourth day bristles with possibilities. On a wearing pitch, all three results are possible.

The talented left-hander, Devdutt Padikkal, unbeaten on 29, curbed his attacking instincts. With fielders around the bat and Ashwin asking questions, the pressure on the batsmen was immense.

Just when morale might have been down after losing the first innings battle, skipper Vijay Shankar set the ball rolling with a direct hit from mid-off to run-out Mayank Agarwal; the big fish.

Then, an inspired Vignesh, his run-up, load-up and release blending into one, fired out D. Nischal — caught behind off an outswinger — and Karun Nair — the ball pitched middle and hit off — to leave Karnataka at 23 for three.

And Ashwin, smartly switched to the pavilion end by Vijay Shankar, spun the ball away from the left-handed Pawan Deshpande and turned one across Shreyas Gopal — both catches, at slip and leg-slip, were snaffled by the alert B. Aparajith.

Focus and control

Earlier, Gowtham excelled. He is tall, has an easy high-arm action and extracts bounce. He retained focus and control over long spells.

For Tamil Nadu, Karthik (113, 235b, 16x4) was heroic. He carried innings’ weight even as wickets fell.

Karthik handled Gowtham with both sound defence and enterprise. Karthik played the ball late, waited for it to turn and got on top of the bounce for runs behind point. When the ball was lacking in length, he cut. When flighted, he sashayed down the track.

The duel between Karthik and paceman Ronit More was engaging. There were occasions when More, lively and probing, beat Karthik outside the off-stump.

But when More strayed in line, Karthik was quick to whip him past mid-wicket. And when More over-pitched, he cover-drove.

His defence tight, Karthik’s footwork was dictated by the ball’s length. He upped the tempo when left with the tail and got to his hundred with a ferocious pull.

The other Tamil Nadu batsmen did not display the same levels of application. Some of the stroke-making was atrocious when all they needed to do was support Karthik.

Tomorrow, though, is another day for the host.

The scores: Karnataka — 1st innings: 336.

Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: Abhinav Mukund c Sharath b Gowtham 47, M. Vijay lbw b Gowtham 32, B. Aparajith c Sharath b More 37, Vijay Shankar lbw Gowtham 12, Dinesh Karthik c Mathias b Gowtham 113, N. Jagadeesan c (sub) J. Suchith b Gowtham 29, R. Ashwin b V. Koushik 11, M. Ashwin c B.R. Sharath b More 1, R. Sai Kishore c Karun b Gowtham 3, M. Siddharth c Gowtham b Shreyas 1, K. Vignesh (not out) 4; Extras (b-2, lb-6, nb-7, w-2): 17; Total (in 109.3 overs): 307.

Fall of wickets: 1-81, 2-82, 3-106, 4-151, 5-209, 6-253, 7-254, 8-278, 9-303.

Karnataka bowling: More 23-5-67-2, Koushik 19-5-36-1, Mathias 14-2-36-0, Gowtham 40.3-8-110-6, Shreyas 13-0-50-1.

Karnataka — 2nd innings: Mayank Agarwal run out 8; D. Nischal c Jagadeesan b Vignesh 0, Devdutt Padikkal (batting) 29, Karun Nair b Vignesh 5, Pavan Deshpande c Aparajith b R. Ashwin 20, Shreyas Gopal c Aparajith b R. Ashwin 0, B.R. Sharath (batting) 25; Extras (lb-2): 2; Total (for five wkts in 40 overs): 89.

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-11, 3-23, 4-59, 5-59.

Tamil Nadu bowling: Vijay Shankar 1-0-8-0, Vignesh 8-1-11-2, R. Ashwin 18-7-30-2, Sai Kishore 2-0-10-0, Siddharth 6-0-20-0, Aparajith 5-2-8-0.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:58:41 PM |

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