Ranji Trophy: Vinay fuels hope

For most part of Day 3, it was Vinay Kumar versus Odisha and despite the Karnataka skipper’s lionhearted return of 7-58 on Monday; the hosts face a tricky test in chase of their maiden win of the Ranji Trophy season.

Set a challenging 245run target, more so against the backdrop of the flop show on their batsmen’s part and the impeccable accuracy of the Odisha bowlers in the first essay, Karnataka finished at 43/1, still 202 runs away from what would be a hard-fought win.

Opener K.B. Pawan’s (12) run of woes continued leaving Robin Uthappa (25 n.o.) and Ganesh Satish (5 n.o.) to resume a tough mission on a track where low bounce is a concern.

The Elite Group ‘B’ fixture at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium has turned out be more competitive and balanced than what was expected with the Odisha middleorder rising to the occasion to frustrate the home camp.

Starting off the day on 30/2, the visitors overcame initial hiccups to recover well, thanks to an entertaining fifth-wicket alliance between top-scorer Biplab Samantray (86, 138b, 13x4) and wicketkeeper Subhrajith Sahu (48, 108b, 8x4) to put up 255 in their second innings. The duo spliced up a 100-run stand (166b) as the Karnataka bowlers huffed and puffed with their lack of intensity, except for the inspirational Vinay.

The right-arm pacer was not the quickest among the pack and didn’t even move the ball prodigiously, but Vinay showed the way for the lacklustre lot what probing line and accuracy can fetch as he bagged his second-best Ranji bowling figures, following his 8-32 against Delhi in the 2009/10 season.

Vinay added to his overnight two-wicket tally with the scalp of Govinda Poddar in the seventh over before Stuart Binny claimed his first — of makeshift opener Alok Sahoo (37) as Karnataka scented an early win.

Then, S.L. Akshay, erroneous with his line for the lion’s share of the innings, surprised rival skipper Natraj Behra (17) to reduce Odisha to 105/5.

Though Vinay was right on the money through out, it was a sorry show at the other end even as Samantray ground the hosts’ attack. The righthanded batsman produced some delightful drives either side of the wicket.

With the wind blowing in Odisha’s favour, it was Vinay who shifted the sail, accounting for Samantray, who was snapped up by Manish Pandey at second slip.

Vinay claimed his fifth when Deepak Behera was caught behind the wicket and at tea, Odisha reached 241/7, already enjoying the upper hand.

However, Vinay claimed two quick wickets before Akshay wrapped it up four overs into the final session.

It’s time now for the Karnataka batsmen to complement their skipper’s fiery effort.

SCOREBOARD Odisha 1st Innings: 202 Karnataka 1st Innings: 213 Odisha 2nd Innings (O/n: 30/2): A.Sahoo lbw Binny 37, G. Poddar b Vinay 16, B. Samantray c Pandey b Vinay 86, Natraj Behera b Akshay 17, S. Sahu lbw Vinay 48, Deepak Behera c Gautam b Vinay 7, L. Samal (not out) 20, B. Mohanty c Gautam b Vinay 5, A. Mangaraj b Akshay 0.
Extras (NB-5, LB-6, B-4) 15.
Total (all out, 74 overs) 255 FoW: 3-54, 4-64, 5-105, 6-205, 7-216, 8-242, 9-252 Bowling: R. Vinay Kumar 21-6-58-7, S.L. Akshay 13-1-43-2, H.S. Sharath 17-1-70-0, K.P. Appanna 6-0-23-0, A.Verma 1-0-4-0, S. Binny 14-5-39-1, R.Uthappa 2-0-8-0 Karnataka 2nd Innings: K.B. Pawan c Sahu b Mangaraj 12, R. Uthappa (batting) 25, G. Satish (batting) 5.
Extras (LB-1) 1.
Total (for 1 wkt, 19 overs) 43 FoW: 1-27 Bowling: B. Mohanty 6-1-11-0, A.Mangaraj 7-2-19-1, B. Samantray 41-10-0, D. Behera 2-1-2-0

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