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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran in Hubli
December 22, 2012
Haryana 293 for 7 (Mishra 86*, Yadav 64*, Sunny 56) v Karnataka
Hubli and its 31 degrees sunshine provided Haryana a stark contrast from the chilly, foggy north Indian towns where they have played most of the season, but for the first two sessions against Karnataka their batting floundered just as it has so often over the past two months. The several thousand fans who turned up to see the first first-class match in Hubli for a couple of decades would have returned home a happier lot had it not been for Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav's 125-run eighth-wicket stand that lifted Haryana to 293 for 7.
It wasn't a tailenders-chancing-their-arm sort of association. Yadav showed he's no No. 9 with a couple of classy drives just before tea that kickstarted the partnership. Mishra, who had made a vital half-century in Haryana's only win of the season, also played an innings a specialist batsman would be proud of. He confidently pulled the quicker bowlers through midwicket, paddle-swept the spinners to the vacant fine leg and played the cut regularly, both the conventional one towards point and a defter late one towards third man. The one genuine chance for Karnataka, playing without Vinay Kumar (injured) and Abhimanyu Mithun (on national duty), was when Mishra nicked to gully 15 minutes before close but Robin Uthappa shelled it.
Before the two came together, it was all Karnataka, who chose to bowl on a pitch that looked green but wasn't particularly venomous. The highlight of the morning session was SL Akshay comprehensively bowling the opener Rahul Dewan. The full ball broke the off stump in two and left one part reclining several yards away from the rest of the stumps. That dramatic sight elicited one of the biggest cheers of the day from the crowd.
Akshay also bowled Abhimanyu Khod, in a less spectacular manner, and by lunch, despite Sunny Singh being put down at gully on 0, Haryana were 102 for 3. They survived a nervy period going into the break: Manish Pandey nearly caught Nitin Saini short with a throw from mid-on, Saini then fended a short ball that did not carry to gully and a loud caught-behind appeal was turned down.
Soon after lunch, Haryana were down to 112 for 5 as Saini and Rahul Dalal both edged to the wicketkeeper. Sunny had worked his way to a half-century after an anxious start but threw it away by chipping a catch to midwicket. Joginder Sharma, one of the handful of names in the match known to most of the crowd, also fell cheaply, but just when Karnataka were thinking of wrapping up the innings quickly, Mishra and Yadav resisted to make it an even day.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough