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February 9, 2014
Karnataka 35 for 1 (Rahul 28*) trail Rest of India 201 (Karthik 91, Vinay 6-47, Binny 3-35) by 166 runs
Karnataka quick bowler Vinay Kumar continued his strong recent form with a six-for to bundle Rest of India out for 201. ROI would have been shot out for even less if not for Dinesh Karthik, who made the most of an early reprieve to score 91 in an innings where only two of the top six reached double-figures.
After Karnataka chose to bowl, Vinay struck on the first ball of the match on a greenish Chinnaswamy Stadium track, getting Jiwanjot Singh lbw in front of off. In his next over, Vinay removed another promising young batsman lbw, this time it was B Aparajith who fell to an incutter. In his third over, Vinay got his third wicket when the highest run-getter of the Ranji season, Maharashtra's Kedar Jadhav, was struck on the back leg, though the ball seemed to be heading over the stumps.
The trend of a wicket in each of his overs should have continued in Vinay's fourth, but Karthik was adjudged not out though he had clearly nicked the ball through to the wicketkeeper. At one stage in his first spell, Vinay had figures of 5-2-6-3.
Two of the most experienced batsmen in the match, Gautam Gambhir and Karthik, then prevented further damage by batting out 19 overs, putting on 42 runs. Stuart Binny, returning to the Karnataka side after a stint with the national team, was getting the ball to jag around, and he broke through by getting the fourth lbw of the innings, with Gambhir a bit unlucky to be given out though the ball might have missed leg stump. Things got worse for ROI as Mandeep Singh edged to slip, bringing Amit Mishra in even before lunch.
At No. 7, Mishra might have been batting a position higher than you would expect, but he was the first batsman to show some enterprise in the innings, taking on the bowlers with some cavalier swinging. He clouted seven fours and a six in a rapid 47 as he overtook an unusually cautious Karthik. With the half-century in sight, however, his innings came to an end, caught at slip off fast bowler HS Sharath, who was making his comeback after missing the semi-finals and final with an injury.
Karthik has built a reputation as someone who can thrive on difficult tracks on the domestic circuit and he showcased that today as well by working through the initial tough phase, before slowly finding his groove. By tea, he was looking fluent, picking off boundaries with ease, including three in an over from Abhimanyu Mithun.
Just when a century seemed to be there for the taking, he fell to one of the catches of the season: a full-blooded slog-sweep rocketed towards mid-on where Robin Uthappa threw himself to his left to pluck a full-stretch catch to send back Karthik. Vinay returned to polish off the tail, and ROI had lost their final four wickets for two runs.
There was something to celebrate for ROI before stumps as Robin Uthappa edged to slips to fall for a duck. KL Rahul then showed off some of the crisp drives that took him to 1000-plus runs in the Ranji season, and shepherded Karnataka to 35 for 1 before stumps.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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