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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran in Hubli
December 25, 2012
Haryana 587 for 9 dec (Yadav 211, Mishra 202*, Sunny 56) drew with Karnataka 272 (Kapoor 106, Harshal 5-79) and 330 for 2 (Uthappa 137, Kapoor 100*)
It is not often in sport that a team completely dominates the final quarter of a match but still ends up distinctly second best. In Hubli, Karnataka's batsmen looked in terrific touch as they piled up 330 for 2 on the final day against Haryana, but it was moot as the massive first-innings lead they conceded left their side with only one point from the match.
Haryana got three for their efforts, but with 13 points after seven matches though they are still not technically out of the running. They need some outlandish results in the final match to progress. Karnataka's chances are better, but only just, as they too need to win by seven points and hope for other matches to go their way.
Karnataka would have been far better placed had they batted yesterday, when they still had some hope of gaining more points, the way they did today. Robin Uthappa made his first century of the season and Kunal Kapoor became the first Karnataka batsman to make a century in each innings in a Ranji match as they thwarted Haryana's hopes of pulling off an outright victory.
Uthappa has lost plenty of weight this season and has hired former India batsman Praveen Amre as his personal batting coach but the big score had proved elusive so far. He had looked in excellent touch in the first innings as well, hitting boundaries at will, but was trapped lbw soon after reaching his half-century, a decision that didn't please him. This time there was no missing out, as he showed off his repertoire of strokes, from lofted drives to the delicate glide to third man. It was clear how much the century meant to him; though the match was dead he celebrated with gusto, holding both hands aloft and saluting the cheering crowd.
Kapoor had made his maiden first-class century on Monday, and had to wait only one more day to get his second. Like yesterday, he had little trouble with anything Haryana threw at him, and with little at stake in the match, he coolly progressed towards his hundred. The only stutter was when he neared triple-figures - he was stuck in the nineties for a long time, even as CM Gautam biffed his way to a half-century at the other end.
The match had been meandering towards a draw, and it would have been called off right at the start of the mandatory overs. But Kapoor's troubles in the nineties extended it to the third mandatory over before the match ended with him celebrating a feat which eluded Karnataka's many decorated batsmen in 78 years of the Ranji Trophy.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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