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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran in Hubli
December 23, 2012
Karnataka 11 for 0 trail Haryana 587 for 9 dec (Yadav 211, Mishra 202*, Sunny 56) by 576 runs
On a day when Indian cricket's biggest icon stepped down from one-day international cricket, and India's squads for one of their most high-profile series was announced, Haryana's Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav managed to grab a bit of the cricketing headlines for themselves with a 392-run partnership, the highest in the history of Ranji Trophy cricket for the eighth wicket.
There was plenty of astonishing things about the stand, besides the sheer magnitude of runs scored. It was forged by two lower-order batsmen who had never scored a first-class century previously, and both of them went on to complete double-hundreds. The 392 runs they realised was more than the Haryana team had managed in any innings this Ranji season - only once in six Ranji matches had their notoriously inconsistent batting scored more than 300. And they came together with the team in trouble at 168 for 7. File this stand in the Annals of Improbable Sporting Feats.
Haryana resumed on 293 for 7, and the shouts of encouragement from their dressing room were initially about caution, ek ek ball soch ke, ek ek ball (take it one ball at a time) but an hour into play, with Mishra and Yadav looking increasingly comfortable, there were more spirited calls for a large total chaar sau chahiye (we need 400). The pair propelled Haryana to far more, as Karnataka endured 451 minutes of frustration.
As on Saturday, neither played the farmyard swipes usually associated with tailenders, and displayed the concentration most top-order batsmen would be proud of. Early on, Yadav showed he was keen to go for his strokes: he hooked a short ball from SL Akshay for four, and advanced down the track to loft left-arm spinner KP Appanna over cover for four.
Mishra wasn't far behind, stylishly flicking a leg-stump half-volley from HS Sharath and also crunching successive deliveries for straight-driven boundaries. Even his century came with an expertly timed on-drive that sped away from the chasing fielder. Mishra celebrated with gusto, leaping and emphatically waving his bat towards the dressing room, before taking off his helmet to kiss the badge.
Yadav reached his hundred soon after with a less classy stroke, an outside edge down to third man, and reacted to the milestone like a man who regularly scored centuries for fun. He gently lifted his bat to acknowledge his cheering team-mates, and after a moment took off the helmet hesitantly, as if it was something expected from a batsman making a ton.
Karnataka tried everything, setting 7-2 fields to try squeeze the runs, giving all their players barring the wicketkeeper CM Gautam the chance to bowl, several short balls in the morning. Nothing worked. When the bowlers did force a mistake from the batsmen, the fielders let them down. Sharath put down a sitter at mid-on when Yadav was on 169, and at 531 for 7, Mishra was yards out of his crease beaten by part-timer spinner Amit Verma but the wicketkeeper CM Gautam broke the stumps before collecting the ball.
The large Sunday crowd which turned up in Hubli entertained themselves, though they didn't get to see the home side bat much. When a train went by along the adjoining railway track, the crowd shouted gaadi aa raha hain, chale jao. Midway through the second session they started to scream declare karo yaar, and their chants soon turned to desperate ones calling for one-pitch catches to be taken as dismissals and for Karnataka to bowl underarm to stop the runs.
Karnataka finally struck an hour after tea, with Yadav trapped lbw for 211. There was a bit of drama late in the day as Haryana lost their ninth with Mishra still unbeaten on 198. The No. 11 Harshal Patel safely negotiated an over before Mishra charged down the track to a bouncer and top-edged it over the keeper for four. The crowd saluted his effort by chanting 'Mishra, Mishra,' as he walked off, the perfect end to a day in which he had also been recalled to the national one-day squad.
The pitch remains pretty flat, as do Karnataka's chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals after their season was ambushed by two of the unlikeliest double-centurions.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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