Wickets fall like nine pins

BELGAUM, NOV. 15. The pitch is dicey, comment did the rounds on the match eve. However when Ranji cricket returned to Belgaum's Union Gymkhana grounds after a 30-year gap, impetuous batsmen hastened dismissals rather than the pitch. At the first day's close here on Wednesday, host Karnataka wobbled at 90 for four in reply to Andhra's 195.

Earlier, Andhra elected to bat and the day's batting horrors commenced as skipper Amit Pathak pulled seamer Mansur Ali Khan down mid-on's throat. The middle-order blues continued as the brother-act failed to take off. Y. Gnaneshwar Rao patted back offie Anand Yalvigis long-hop. However Y. Venugopala Rao (42, 88b, 9x4) lent some cheer to the visitors, banishing offie Dharmichand with three boundaries past covers.

Post-lunch, left-arm spinner Vadeyaraj, nudged the stumps thanks to Venugopala Raos fatal sweep. Andhra hobbled on with a 45-run eighth-wicket partnership between H. Watekar (27 n.o.) and Shahbuddin (33, 41b, 5x4, 1x6). The duo's ease put the pitch- scare in the right perspective despite the odd ball keeping low.

Karnataka flickered with skipper J. Arun Kumar's cover-drives. But seamer Shahbuddin (three for 40) exulted as Mithun Beerala, Arun and Sujith played injudicious strokes. Soon offie Watekar lured Barrington Rowland and bequeathed Karnataka's salvage- operation to the Thilak Naidu-B. Akhil duo.

The scores:

Andhra - 1st innings: L.N. Prasad Reddy c J. Arun Kumar b Mansur Ali Khan 31; Amit Pathak c Santosh Vadeyaraj b Mansur 17; Y. Gnaneshwar Rao c and b Anand Yalvigi 13; Y. Venugopala Rao b S. Vadeyaraj 42; R.V. Ch. Prasad b A. Yalvigi 4; Fayaz Ahmed c Thilak Naidu b S. Vadeyaraj 13; Noor Md. Khan b S. Vadeyaraj 0; H. Watekar (not out) 27; K.S. Shahbuddin c S. Vadeyaraj b Mansur 33; Y.S. Ranganath b Dodda Ganesh 9; V.J.T. Ram Mohan b D. Ganesh 0; Extras (lb-2, nb-4) 6; Total: (all out in 61.5 overs) 195.

Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-51, 3-69, 4-77, 5-101, 6-117, 7-126, 8- 171, 9-187.

Karnataka bowling: Dodda Ganesh 11.5-2- 36-2; Mansur Ali Khan 12- 3-48-3; B. Akhil 4-1-14-0; Anand Yalvigi 18-3-42-2; Santosh Vadeyaraj 15-5-41-3; Dharmichand 1-0-12-0.

Karnataka -1st innings: J. Arun Kumar c Y.S. Ranganath b Shahbuddin 27; Mithun Beerala c Fayaz Ahmed b Shahbuddin 10; Barrington Rowland c Y. Gnaneshwar Rao b H. Watekar 23; Sujith Somasundar lbw b Shahbuddin 0; Thilak Naidu (batting) 21; B. Akhil (batting) 5; Extras (lb-4) 4; Total: (for four wkts. in 28 overs) 90.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-54, 3-56, 4-82.

Andhra bowling: Shahbuddin 12-2-40-3; R.V. Ch. Prasad 4-0-11-0; Noor Md. Khan 1-0-8-0; Y.S. Ranganath 7-2-19-0; H. Watekar 4-1-8- 1.