Struggling K’taka salvage draw

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Karnataka’s tail-enders, in company of in-form wicket-keeper batsman C.M. Gautam, went through some anxious moments before salvaging a fighting draw and a valuable point against Uttar Pradesh in their third-round Ranji Trophy fixture here on Tuesday.

Going into the final day of the Group ‘B’ encounter, UP skipper Suresh Raina declared the UP second innings on the overnight total of 343/5, leaving Karnataka the challenging task of batting the day out to deny an outright victory for the hosts.

The visitors, who were on the receiving end for the most part of the contest, finished at 274/8 in 91 overs with Gautam (26 n.o., 109b, 5x4) and K.P.Appanna (4, 26b, 1x4) added 26 runs for the unbroken ninth-wicket stand, which more importantly consumed 10.1 overs.

With the result, UP, who pocketed three points from the match for claiming innings honours, sit atop the group table with 10 points, while Karnataka are precariously placed seventh in the nine-team pool with just five points in their kitty. UP’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dished out a splendid allround performance throughout the tie, continued to be the bogeyman for Karnataka.

The right-arm pacer picked four wickets including two quick ones late into the day to put Karnataka under the pump.

Earlier, in the morning session, after Karnataka lost their opening duo of K.B. Pawan (11) and Robin Uthappa (17) cheaply for the second time in the match, it was No. 3 Ganesh Satish (70, 111b, 11x4) and No. 4 Manish Pandey (76. 98b, 8x4, 3x6) who undertook the repair job with a vital 122run third-wicket alliance.

But Pandey, who had struck a half-century in the first innings too, ran himself out just after lunch before Bhuvaneshwar struck for the second time on the day, nailing the well-set Satish to turn the tables dramatically.

From 188/4, Karnataka fell to 215/5 when stand-in skipper Stuart Binny (10) disappointing with the willow for the third consecutive innings. Tragedy struck Binny’s side again when Amit Verma became a run out victim, after contributing an 82-ball 33.

UP were coasting towards a deserving win when Bhuvneshwar dismissed K. Gowtham (10) and Ronit More (0) in the 81st over to leave Karnataka at 249/8 before the visitors clung on to save some pride.

Uttar Pradesh 1st innings: 283 Karnataka 1st Innings: 181 Uttar Pradesh 1st Innings: 343/5 decl.
Karnataka 2nd Innings:: K.B. Pawan c Amir b Rajpoot 11, R. Uthappa b Bhuvaneshwar 17, Ganesh Satish c Raina b Bhuvaneshwar 70, M.Pandey (run out) 76, A. Verma (run out) 33, S. Binny b Rajpoot 10, C.M. Gautam (not out) 26, K. Gowtham b Bhuvaneshwar 10, R. More b Bhuvneshwar 0, K.P. Appanna (not out) 4. Extras (B-4, LB-10, W-2, NB1) 17 T To ot ta al l ( (f fo or r 8 8 w wk kt ts s, , 9 91 1 o ov ve er rs s) ) 2 27 74 4 F Fo oW W: : 1-23, 2-33, 3-155, 4-188, 5215, 6-227, 7-245, 8-249 B Bo ow wl li in ng g: : Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 248-67-4, A. Rajpoot 22-9-52-2, I.Ahmed 19-5-61-0, P. Chawla 16-560-0, A. Murtaza 9-2-20-0, S. Raina 1-1-0-0.

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